Small Business Phone Systems, which one is right for your company?
Even a very simple small business phone system can achieve wonders for the efficiency levels of your company. It can also enhance the customer service image and outsiders’ perception of how efficiently your business is managed. These days many companies are opting to merge their small business phone system with the IT side of the operation and there are a number of companies offering such services that are easy to upgrade as your business grows.
When you set up a small business phone system, determine the following things in order to get one that best suits your needs:
Line and extension requirements – based on the number of simultaneous outside and internal calls you expect to make. With a small business this is unlikely to be very high in the early stages.
Direct extension requirements – This may need to be installed separately for the older analogue systems. However digital phone systems are becoming the norm and in such cases DDI is easy to get.
Handset requirements – A choice between traditional, cordless for convenience, hands-free for simultaneous computer use or inbuilt microphones/speakers for conference calls.
Telephone number – One of the benefits of small business phone systems is that they still allow for national-type phone numbers to be attached (eg 0845). This means you can create a national image for your business, despite only operating locally.
Basic Features The standard functions of most phone systems now include voice mail, this minimises the loss of potential business when no one can take the call. Other basic features to check for include:- conference call functions – an efficient tool that allows meetings between more than two staff members despite being miles apart.
If your small business phone system is likely to be heavily used in the customer relations department, particularly as the company expands; it is a good idea to get a call logging function which will allow you to monitor all incoming and outgoing calls. This function will mean your system is only used appropriately, and that the right amount of man-power and technology is allocated to each area of the business. A related feature is call barring - useful if you need to prevent members of staff from making unnecessary premium rate phone calls. Should you prefer Sri Lanka real estate it is worth considering Ashkars.
Faxes are also still used by certain sectors, such as the construction industry for the speedy exchange of information, although demand for this tool is diminishing as computer-based methods such as email take its place.
The modern benefits of telecommunications advances mean small business phone systems can be adapted to include mobile phones and the following features, many of which work through a synchronised internet connection.
1) - Call redirection - so you can redirect the course of incoming calls to staff members who are working from home or are out on a job. This has developed significantly to include mobile phones, something few UK businesses now operate without.
2) – Integrated telephone and IT system – allows the dialling of numbers from your computer and the customer’s details to be displayed for any member of staff taking the call. This is generally referred to as Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and requires a fairly extensive computer hard-drive capacity. Small business phone systems rarely use CTI as it can be underused, especially considering that it is expensive to implement.
2) – VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol – a cost effective method of making calls over a computer network. Even international calls are potentially free if you have a broadband internet connection, although this system is not as reliable or high in quality as the traditional telephone. It might also cost more to call someone via a VoIP channel if their system does not have the function. 3) – Data networking – allowing mobile and home online networking using wireless technology.
4) – Video conferencing – essentially an upgrade from the traditional conference call. This function creates the opportunity for conference calls that employ both sound and vision. This is a step up and a more personable approach than voice only communication with clients and staff, however it can be expensive.
After the initial advice and installation of your small business phone system, there are a number of other services you might require from your chosen provider. These include maintenance, staff training, expansion, after-sales support. You are likely to need some if not all of these so check how easily/cheaply your business will receive them.