What you should consider before choosing a phone system

Your current telephone system for small business is playing up. Sometimes the important call drops out. Other times there is a hissing noise in the background that you are unable to understand the caller or you cannot get an outside line to make your call. Once this starts to happen it is time to look for a new telephone system. The obvious question that comes up is “What you should consider before choosing a phone system for your small business.”

Where do you start? Do you have NBN or is NBN coming to your area soon? How many telephone users do you have now and what will it expand to in the next 3 to 5 years? What are the necessary features and what are the features that you wish you had?

One of the most important questions that come to mind is “Should I go with a traditional in-house telephone system or a cloud-based hosted VOIP System. Each has its own merits. Let’s try and analyze the pros and cons of traditional in house telephone system to a cloud-hosted VOIP system.

The in-house Phone system is a requirement when there are fixed lines or Digital Phone lines coming into the premises via copper wires. Modern phone systems can also connect VOIP together with fixed lines on the same hardware. These phone systems for small business have in-house and remote extensions, connections to mobile phones etc. Incoming calls can either be picked up by the operator or distributed to the staff based on the phone systems programming.

Cloud-based hosted Phone System works on the internet. Calls are received via internet from the Main System stored remotely. Calls and calling features are sent from the main system to the remote handsets or mobile handsets with the internet.

When considering choosing a small business phone system for your business the following factors need to be looked at:

  1. The size of the system – This depends on the number of staff the business employs and the number of calls that are made and received during the business hours. If it is a sales company dependent on inbound sales then you may need a call centre set up to receive the incoming calls otherwise the calls can be distributed to the various departments based on the interactive voice response and call queuing.
  2. Business Phone Plan – The type of lines and the business phone plan also plays a very important role. If your company is dependent on making a lot of outbound calls then it may be worthwhile looking at unlimited call plans. These are where for a fixed amount of money any number of local, national and calls to mobiles can be made. If the company is reliant on inbound calls then unlimited call plan may not suit your company. In this instance pay as you go business phone plan may suit better.
  3. Flexibility – Small businesses are constantly on the move. With that in mind, you need a telephone system that will adapt to this move. It could be teleworkers or remote workers that would require the same set of tools as the in-house workers.
  4. How Others Connect with You – Your small business phone system is not only about your employees making contact with the outside world but also about others contacting your company. Look at it as an outsider, the pros and cons when you call another company, the interactive voice responses that sometimes drive you crazy, the conference options, voicemail options etc. As phone systems would be one of the first contacts anyone has with your business it is extremely important that it portrays a professional image of the company to the callers.
  5. Scalability – Do not invest in a phone system for today; invest in a phone system for the future, one that can cater for between 3 to 5 years. Look at the scalability of the system, where it can be expanded to accommodate the staff with minor upgrades or will the system need to be changed.
  6. Functionality – This is the must-have and wish list of features that one would like on the phone system. Features such as caller-id, call forwarding, call blocking, call logging, voicemail, music on hold, speakerphone etc.
  7. Price and Value – Once you have finalised your requirements of the telephone system, it is very important that the telephone system you are considering is within your budget and will add value to your business. Consider how much time your employees will save with the new features or how much faster the company will be able to serve its customers.

Whilst the above list of considerations are some of the main ones there are other considerations that need to be taken into account when looking for a new phone system for small business.

Please speak to one of our friendly account managers on 1300 865 426 if you are considering purchasing or upgrading your small business telephone system as they will be able to guide you thru the process of selecting a suitable phone system for your small business.