We live in a world of modern technology.
The internet, social media, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality were once futuristic fantasy. Now, though, they’re part of daily life.
Yet, despite these technological advances, it’s the trusty telephone that remains crucial to successful business operations. Indeed, 80% of business conversations are still conducted on the phone!
According to the same source, 80% of callers hang up without leaving a message when nobody picks up! Missing a call amounts to missed business.
As a result, phone systems for small business can make a significant difference in their ability to succeed. Low-quality systems can hamstring it from the outset.
But what makes the best phone system for your business? With dozens on the market, it can be hard to find the right option. Let us help!
Keep reading to discover how to find the perfect business phone system.
1. Functionality and Features
The most important part of a phone system is its functionality.
In simple terms, it has to tick all the right boxes for your specific business needs. Of course, this will depend entirely on a host of factors, such as its size and nature.
A key thing to consider will be the number of people you employ and whether the system will support everybody. However, think about features too.
All you might need is a standard phone-line! However, many businesses seek multiple lines, on-hold music, and automated answering services too.
Likewise, a modern world calls for modern communications. Do you want/need video calling capabilities and/or instant messaging opportunities?
Answering these kinds of questions will help you ascertain the appropriate system.
2. Connection Type
In general, you have two types of connections to choose between.
There’s the classic landline, or the more modern available; each has its relative advantages and disadvantages.
Landlines were once your only option! They’ve been used for decades to provide a reliable, if expensive, business phone system. These days, though, they’ve been largely replaced by VoIP.
Short for voice over internet protocol, these rely on high-speed internet to run. They tap into existing internet connections to provide a seamless calling system and can be hosted onsite or offsite.
A primary benefit is the cost reductions involved over traditional means.
Realistically, if you lack a landline, then a VoIP system will be the best bet for your small business.
As you can imagine, not all phone systems are created equally.
A prime difference between providers is where the system is hosted. There are two options: onsite, or Cloud-based. Now, there are pros and cons to both. The best bet will depend, again, on your specific needs.
Onsite systems are the classic option, which places private branch exchange (PBX) equipment in the office. It’s a one-time purchase but requires IT staff to use and keep it all running. Likewise, in time, the out-dated tech will need replacing, meaning extra expense in due course.
A cloud phone system provides a modern alternative. These are offsite systems that you employ via the internet (usually) for a monthly fee. They’re housed by the provider, meaning your IT staff can get on with other jobs.
Of course, the price of a phone system can be a crunch point for small businesses too.
Sometimes, the best system is simply that which falls in budget!
Prices vary depending on the type of system and the features provided. More advanced systems tend to pack a more substantial price tag.
We recommend seeing this as an investment though. Paying more upfront can save you bundles down the line. It might be worth forking out for a more expensive system.
5. Think Virtual
Virtual phone lines are a bit different.
Growing in popularity, these systems forward calls to your phone via a virtual number.
Potential customers call a virtual business number, which is then routed to your phone (or that of an employee). A central number has different extensions for each team-member/department; the virtual systems direct calls accordingly.
The benefit of this is that you and your team can be located anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, it removes the need for a complete office phone system while providing the essential features you need. Work for yourself and want to keep your personal mobile? Well, pay for a virtual service to send calls via the virtual number straight to it.
6. Uptime Percentages
There’s no point having a phone system that doesn’t work when you need it.
Remember, missed calls mean missed business, which no serious business can afford. Make sure the phone system to settle upon is highly reliable.
This is where uptime percentages are important. This figure indicates just how operational the service is. Find a system that has a high percentage to ensure people can contact you at all times.
Moreover, inquire about any reimbursements provided when uptime percentages go awry. Many providers will give you money back if they fail to meet a certain standard.
7. Customer Service
You’ll also want your provider to offer premium customer service.
Problems with your phones will cripple your ability to generate revenue. For that reason, you’ll need to get issue resolved as quickly as possible.
More downtime equates to higher losses. Small businesses that lack their own IT technicians rely upon quality customer support to prevent the worst-case scenarios. Look for systems that can offer constant support of this nature.
Top providers will have multiple streams of communication, including online chat.
Time to Find the Best Phone Systems for Small Business
Phones continue to have an indelible impact on business success.
Technology may have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. However, a lot of business is still conducted over the telephone; dodgy connections and missed calls mean missed opportunities.
For that reason, quality phone systems for small businesses make all the difference. Hopefully, this post will help you find the best system for you.
Looking for more articles like this one? Head to the ‘Office’ section of the blog now!