Business owners and professionals need their phone systems to be reliable, fast and up to date, just like the rest of the tools in their arsenal. It’s important to review your phone system regularly to ensure it’s efficient and meets your business’s needs. We’ll go over everything you need to know about upgrading your business phone system, including how and when to upgrade and the best business phone systems to consider.
You should carry out full maintenance checks on your phone system at least every 12 months. There are often signs that you need to upgrade your phone system, but you will most likely want to ask yourself the following questions:
>> Learn More: How to Choose a Business Phone System
Phone systems have advanced at the same pace as computers over the past decade. Imagine running your business on computer equipment that is 10 or 15 years old. Business owners researching current market trends will quickly realize that replacing an outdated phone system with a hosted phone system is one of the few ways to improve quality and future-proof your business.
One major phone system advancement is voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools and businesses switched to remote operations. VoIP is a way to manage your ever-growing phone systems and expand your reach without fussing with traditional phone lines and providers that are limited to a certain range or format.
Because VoIP is generally cheaper and more reliable than more traditional phone systems, it is accessible to a wide range of businesses, regardless of their size or client base. Because of its popularity, VoIP is expected to keep growing and changing, boasting integrations with 5G, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline your business’s daily operations as you adjust to future technologies.
VoIP is often available as part of a package with other communication services, known as a unified communication as a service (UCaaS) product. UCaaS is more convenient and efficient than having separate communication providers. Instead of moving in and out of instant messaging or fax services, your team can work from one app. UCaaS products are especially popular with teams working in a variety of locations at once, such as all-remote organizations or global companies.
An easy way to avoid the headache of phone system management is to put it in someone else’s hands. With a hosted solution, you don’t have to review and upgrade your system regularly; the provider takes care of it for you.
>> Learn More: VoIP vs. Landlines
An upgraded phone system may cost you anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per handset. A midrange phone system runs about $500 per handset. When you’re determining if you should upgrade your phone system, there are many things to consider:
If you are like most businesses, you want to grow and expand. That might mean adding more employees, who will need phones. That’s why it’s important to find a system that is easy to expand. Some phone systems are complex, so make sure you understand how to add more phone lines. Updated phone systems use VoIP, which may cause problems when your internet goes down; you should make sure there is a backup plan for if that were to happen.
Figure out how many calls your business gets daily. If you don’t get the right system for your call volume, it might hurt your phone system’s performance. If you have multiple locations that must work together, you might want to consider a host phone system, which allows you to call anyone in your system with just a three-digit code, no matter where they are located.
>> Learn More: What’s a Business VoIP Number?
Be sure you understand all of the features that come with your phone system and how much they might cost. If you know what features you need ahead of time, you can tell the salesperson so you ensure your phone system has all you need. You also should understand the cost of maintenance for the phone system you want. If you are considering a refurbished phone system, be mindful that you might face repair costs.
If your company handles conference calls regularly, make sure your phone system can handle them. Also, know what to expect from your phone system in an emergency situation, like how quickly it can be recovered, so you can reduce downtime.
Here are some options to consider when you’re searching for a top business phone system:
Nextiva has messaging, voice and video, with subscriptions to incorporate unlimited internet fax or toll-free minutes. You can even view talk time and total calls in real time. Because Nextiva has so many easy-to-understand analytics and reporting tools, it is a great system for those looking to pay close attention to their communication needs. Learn more in our full review of Nextiva.
RingCentral is a great system for putting everything your business needs in one place. You don’t need to waste time or money on third-party products. RingCentral works well for remote teams, since both its mobile and desktop apps are smooth and reliable. The platform’s Team Huddle feature, with real-time chat and video, can help companies maintain an organic atmosphere even when working remotely. Learn more in our comprehensive review of RingCentral.
During the pandemic, Zoom all but took over the educational space and was incorporated into more companies than ever before. Although Zoom is famous for its video conference offerings, the company offers a variety of subscriptions that include both limited and unlimited calling plans. Zoom has features that can cater to both large and small groups on your conference calls.
Dialpad incorporates AI for recording and summarizing tools. It even provides a list of actionable tasks from meetings. You can also create custom keyword-based assist cards for your help lines. Because Dialpad takes so much initiative, you can save money and time that you would have spent appointing someone to record those meetings or send follow-up emails to attendees. Learn more in our complete review of Dialpad.
What makes Ooma stand out is how quickly you can get it up and running. There’s no need to be without a phone system; you can pull Ooma out of the box and use it immediately. Ooma’s subscriptions offer unlimited calling to Canada, Mexico and the U.S. (including Puerto Rico), as well as 35 VoIP features. Ooma works remotely or on-site and can even connect to devices such as pagers and fax machines. Learn more in our Ooma review.