For most businesses, phone systems are the first point of contact. Therefore, having a phone system that makes your business look professional and deemed to provide exceptional customer service is the first step towards success.
Are you looking for a phone system for your business and are confused by the several terminologies floating all around the internet? If yes, then you have landed on the right page as here we will discuss different types of phone systems, their pros and cons, and factors that you should consider before purchasing your phone system.
In earlier days, business phone systems were usually on-site and used clunky hardware systems such as PBX servers, desk phones, cables, and other accessories. But nowadays, cloud communication has paved the path for less infrastructure and hardware requirements for having the best business phone system with premium features at an affordable cost.
Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Business Phone System
- How many employees will be using your phone system?
- Do you currently own a business phone system?
- Will your employees work from home or do you have a distributed workforce?
- Do you need a toll free number or local number for your business?
- Do you want to keep your existing business number?
- Do you plan to scale your business over coming months or years?
- Does your business have a supports and sales team?
- How many minutes you are currently using for business communication?
- Do you expect high call volume from your customers?
- Which business phone system features will you require the most?
Based on the answer of these questions, you can better understand your requirements and can choose the best phone system for your business.
Types of Business Phone System
1. Traditional or Landline-based Phone Systems
Traditional landline systems are PSTN-based networks that transfer analog signals via copper wires to make and receive calls.
- Landline phone systems are time-tested and reliable telephony solutions.
- Your telephony solution is not dependent on your internet connection.
- Huge upfront costs for companies to buy hardware.
- Staffing requirements to regularly update and maintain the telephony solution.
- Isn’t scalable as per business requirements.
2. On-Premise VoIP Phone Systems
As the name suggests, these types of business phone systems use Voice Over Internet Protocol for handling inbound and outbound calls. All the required telephony equipment, such as PBX servers, VoIP phones, cables, etc. are maintained and hosted by the company on their premises itself.
- You are responsible for ensuring regular phone communications for your business in all situations.
- A bit cheaper than traditional landline systems.
- Huge upfront cost.
- Infrastructure requirements for keeping PBX servers and facilities for uninterrupted power supply and cooling system.
3. Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
Cloud-based VoIP systems are the modern-day solutions that are responsible for streamlining and unifying business communications. If you have ever come across other terms such as hosted PBX, cloud PBX, or hosted VoIP systems, it is sure that you are already aware of this business phone system. but if the terms sound unheard, then here is a simple definition.
Cloud-based VoIP systems use the internet for calling purposes. The only difference is that all the communication software and equipment are hosted and maintained by third party organizations. As a business, you can subscribe to their pricing plans and access the business phone systems with a web-based portal or mobile application.
- No upfront cost for buying additional hardware.
- No technical knowledge required to set up a business phone system.
- Premium features such as voicemail to email, call recording, cloud-based call conferencing, voice broadcasting, etc. at flexible and affordable pricing plans.
- Data security and privacy are maintained via different legal compliances such as GDPR and HIPAA.
The only limitation of a cloud-based VoIP system is that it is dependent on your internet connection for communication purposes. However, you can bypass this limitation by having multiple sources of internet. In case, if one fails, the other internet connection will keep your telephony solution running with negligible downtime.
What to Look in a Business Phone System?
With a good business phone system, you can easily add more extensions and get new agents online with minimum delay. In case of traditional landline systems and on-premise VoIP systems, you first have to buy hardware and install desk phones for your agents. On the other hand, cloud-based VoIP solutions make it super easy as with just a few clicks you can add new extension and get it online.
2. Premium features
Your business phone system provider should offer these premium phone system features:
- Call Forwarding
- Call Barge
- Call Whisper
- Voice Broadcasting
- Messaging Number
- Call Conferencing
For a complete list, refer here.
Business Phone System Features to Look for Contact Centers
Inbound call center
Inbound contact centers should efficiently handle a large volume of incoming calls, and inbound call center solutions are designed to keep this in mind. Your cloud-based phone system should provide you with these features to reduce your customers’ hold or wait time:
- Advanced Call Distribution: Transfer calls from customers to the right agents based on their skills, department, and other factors.
- Music on Hold: Play recorded promotional messages or play a soothing tone while your customers are waiting for your agents to answer their calls.
- Multi-level IVR: The option to create a sub-menu inside an IVR option. For example, you can create another IVR menu to play, and direct customer calls to the right department for faster query resolution when they choose to talk with your agents.
- Call Queue Management: With this feature, customers’ calls are automatically answered by the machine or bot, or you can even choose to play custom music on hold until any of your live agents attends the customer.
Outbound call center
When you have to reach out to customers and potential prospects, then outbound call center solutions best serve the purpose.
Here are the features you should look for:
Predictive dialer: It automates the process of dialing numbers for your agents. Your agents will upload the contact lists, and the predictive dialer will then start connecting them with the people behind those contacts. This feature is essential in keeping your agents productive and handle maximum calls.
- Answering Machine Detection (AMD): This feature saves your agents from dealing with answering machines and busy tones on the other side of the contact.
- Schedule Call back: With this feature, your agents can easily schedule call back for specific customers.
- DNC List Management: DNC stands for Do Not Call, and it includes the contacts of people who don’t want to receive calls from businesses. Therefore, you should always maintain a DNC list. Your contact center solution should have the option for you to import the DNC list and automatically skip those contacts while dialing out numbers.
Have a look at other important features for outbound contact centers.
Blended call center
Blended contact center solutions are essential for businesses that require both inbound and outbound call management solutions. Here, you should look for both inbound and outbound calling features such as ACD, predictive dialers, IVR, music on hold, custom call dispositions, call barge, call transfer, and other critical functions.
3. Efficiency in handling high call volume
Does your selected phone system handle high levels of call volumes efficiently? Does it offer load balancing options? What if there is an unexpected rise of calls on a given day?
Your business phone system should be ready to handle the load if you receive large volume of calls. Cloud-based solutions can handle the load very well as the resources are allocated in real-time based on your telephony requirements.
4. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
COVID-19 has proven that any unfortunate event can occur and hit your business any time. As phone systems are the frontline point of contact for your business, its operations are affected, which means loss of revenue and opportunities.
A cloud communication or cloud VoIP phone system solution offers business continuity and quick disaster recovery with minimum downtime. Even if your primary server gets affected because of a disaster, cloud technology automatically switches your business operations to a different server located at a safer place. Additionally, your necessary communication data is replicated over multiple locations. Hence, your data is never lost if you are using a cloud-based VoIP phone system.
The type of phone system that you are choosing for your business should offer all these discussed features at affordable and flexible pricing plans. As already discussed, landline-based and on-premise VoIP phone systems are costly due to hardware requirements. Thus, cloud-based VoIP telephony solutions can best serve the purpose if you want to reduce operational costs. In case of cloud, you have to subscribe to a monthly or annual plan that too,with easy upgrade and downgrade based on your business requirements.
For any business, its phone system is its lifeline for communicating with customers and resolving their queries. A business phone system reflects the professional side of a company and helps take essential quality control measures. In this guide, you learned about various types of phone systems available and what factors you should look at while buying and making a long-term commitment.
In case, of queries, connect with our Experts by clicking on the Chat Now button.