Understanding business phone systems basics, like how many lines and extensions you need, is an important part of making sure your business is able to accommodate your employees' and customers' needs. A phone system that is too small may turn customers away, while a system that is much too large for your company will be a waste of money.
As a business owner, your phone system offers you a direct link to your customers. That's why you need to research your options and find exactly what meets your business needs.
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Hooking up a home phone is a piece of cake: Plug in the handset and start dialing. But for business — even one with just a handful of employees — business phone systems can be much more complex.
When choosing a phone system, keep in mind what features your business currently needs and how much you expect your business to grow in the next few years. The best system for your business will work within your current budget and adapt to future business growth.
The type of phone system you choose for your business depends in large part on the size of your business. When choosing which type of phone system is best for your business, you should consider not only how many employees you have, but also the number of fax machines, credit card terminals, and modems are in use in your office or store.
Outfitting your retail store? Be sure to check out POS systems, as well.
All of these require their own line in order to function efficiently within the system. In order to determine how many lines you will need on your new system, you should count the number of lines you currently use, and then double it. The types of systems currently on the market include:
Each type of phone system comes with its own special set of considerations. For example: keyless systems require less up-front and continuing costs than other phone systems. However, if your business grows beyond the limit of 10 seats, the cost of an upgrade can overwhelm any previous savings you gained from the keyless system. Other considerations include:
The price of each system will depend on the size of the system you need, how much hardware you require, and how much installation will cost. Some business phone providers will charge you for the number of lines, or “seats,” that you use, whereas others may charge a flat fee.
Consider the up-front as well as monthly costs of the system you choose and determine whether they fit within your business’s budget. Finally, make sure that the system you choose can handle how much your business expects to grow over the next several years.
Business phone systems can help your staff members work more efficiently, whether your office utilizes just a few employees or several hundred. The right phone system for your business will provide you with all the features you need at a price you can afford. It will continue to function as your business grows over time.
There are a wide range of business phone systems that might meet your company's needs. For example, a call center with hundreds of employees would benefit from a multi-line system that gives managers the option to monitor calls and integrate with the center’s customer research management system. Other businesses could benefit from a system that reduces per-use phone service charges by allowing multiple employees to share the same line.
Consider your business’s size, number of employees, function, and future growth potential. How many employees will use the system? What kinds of calls will they make? Once you have determined what specific features your business needs from its phone system, you can identify which phone system is the best fit for your business. The provider that you choose should fulfill all of your business’s needs at a cost that is within your budget.
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