The way your business communicates is going to contribute highly to its success. The communication with customers, vendors, and other employees will be done greatly over the phones. Since it is such a large part of your business, you need to choose carefully between all of the different options out there. Your needs are going to be different than other businesses, so the phone system you need might be different. These tips will help you to make an informed decision.
No matter what kind of business you have, you will have to decide a few things before you get started. You should consider whether you need physical office telephones or if you could use a virtual phone service with cell phones. If you need physical landlines you have to decide what kind of service you want to have. Your local phone company or a company that runs over the internet can provide service to a traditional landline. A phone company that runs over the internet is called a Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP system. Your VoIP system can be cloud-based by your service provider or be self-hosted at your location.
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Any choice you make will have some pros and cons. If you have employees that work in the field or from home, a virtual phone line can connect your business to them. They can also work well at call-forwarding since the calls are sent to each individual phone when a customer calls the business number. A virtual phone line also has many features of a landline like automated receptionists, voicemail, call-forwarding, call screening, and online faxing. This service is decently priced and gives remote workers all the features of an office phone. Because you will be using your cell phone or home phone, you will also be billed by them for the services you use. This phone system is best for companies that utilize a lot of remote workers or sole-proprietorships.
If you go with a traditional landline, you will be working with your local phone company. Copper wiring is used on these analog systems. Your building will need specific hardware to give you a lot of features like call transferring, call directories, and multiple extensions. These have less bugs that pop up from time to time because they have been around the longest. They require a lot of maintenance and are costly, so some companies are moving in other directions. These systems work well for companies that are large and have an in-house IT staff to maintain them. It will also be necessary if your business doesn’t have high-speed internet access.
A VoIP system can be either self-hosted or cloud-based. You get complete control over your service with a self-hosted system. You have complete control over configuration and repairs when it is down. There is a lot of upfront cost because you will have to buy all the equipment. Work will need done on the system, so you will have to hire someone to do that. In a cloud-based system there is no hardware to buy or maintain. You aren’t in control of the hardware this way, which means you have to wait for someone else if your system goes down.