If you are a small business owner, chances are you will need to choose a business phone service at some point. When you are ready to do this, consider these three important factors:
– What type of phone system do you need? Must it include physical landlines, or could your business better use cell phones and a virtual phone system?
– If you do decide you need hard telephones, you will need to choose between a system that uses VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or traditional landlines.
– If you choose to go with VOIP, then you must decide whether to use a cloud-hosted system or one that resides on a server at your business location.
There are costs and benefits with each of these types of phone systems. Read on to learn about each.
Virtual Phone System
A virtual phone system connects employees to their business phone line via cell phones or their home phones. These types of systems are perfect for remote workers, transferring calls to their business line directly to their home phones or their cell phones. This type of system may include several different features, including voicemail, an automated receptionist, call screening and call forwarding.
This type of phone system provides all employees, no matter where they are working, with a professional phone system. This system is also relatively inexpensive and provides most of the phone features found in a traditional business phone system. The disadvantage is that this phone system is not a complete intact phone system. Calls are still processed on the home phone or cell phone network which means an employee is using their own cell minutes or charging calls to their home phone.
A land line is the more traditional type of phone system. This system is typically supported by a regional or local phone company. These systems consist of analog systems which are run along the phone company’s copper wiring. The systems use traditional PBX hardware which provides multiple extensions. These systems may be allowed only a certain number of extensions which can make it difficult to add on numbers.
VOIP phone systems use an internet connection to make and receive calls. This internet connect may be the same ones employees are using to get online. VOIP systems can give small businesses all the same features that traditionally only larger corporations used, including call queuing, automated attendants, and computer integration. Computer integration provides the ability to turn laptops and desk computers into virtual phones and to send voicemails to email inboxes where they may be accessed anywhere.
VOIP phones systems provide a host of great features and are easily configurable. The downside is that these systems are dependent upon the business’ internet connection, so if that goes down, so does the phone system.
Typically, a VOIP system includes leasing the equipment from the VOIP company. A small business may elect to purchase their own VOIP equipment and self-host their VOIP system. This provides the company more control over their system.
Each of these business phone services provides good telephone coverage. Which is best for your company will be determined by the needs of your employees and your business.