How to Choose the Right Business Phone System
The phone system that powers your business is one of the most critical aspects of driving new sales, leads, and improving the overall customer experience. Over the past few decades, phone technology has advanced to the point where it can now add immense value to your business.
However, not all modern business phone systems are created equal. You’ll need to consider many different features and aspects before making an informed buying decision.
Read on to learn more about how to choose the right phone system for your business.
Determine Your Budget
The cost of a business phone system can vary significantly based upon features, service, and hardware. For example, a basic standard analog phone system will cost far less than a hosted PBX one, but you’ll also get far fewer features with the former.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself that can help narrow down the type of phone system that will best serve your business:
- Does your company have plans to expand to additional locations?
- What phone features do your employees need to do their job?
- How many of your employees work remotely—and need a phone?
- What are the costs of your current phone system?
Compare what you need to what you currently have, and that should provide a general pricing framework. For example, if your company plans on expanding to 3 new offices next year, opting for a cloud-based phone system will offer cost savings over a traditional analog setup.
Determine Your Need
It makes no sense to have the latest and greatest in business phone technology if you’ll never wind up using it. Therefore, it’s important to look at your current needs and balance that with your potential future needs.
A great way to do this is to call a meeting of the heads of your departments and ask them what challenges they’re facing with your current phone system. For example, sales might require something altogether different (multiple phone lines, hands-free dialing, etc.) than the purchasing department (a single, no-frills line to call vendors).
You should also consider those employees who work from home. Do they need an existing phone system, or could they benefit from a “follow-me” service wherein incoming phone calls are immediately forwarded to a company cell phone?
Consider the Features
Modern phone systems come with a laundry list of features that add immense value to not only your business and employees but your customers as well.
The customer experience is one aspect that’s often overlooked when companies choose a new phone system. For example, how many buttons does a customer have to push before speaking to a live human being?
Will you provide people with an easy way to immediately talk to someone versus having to wait for a long pre-recorded message to finish?
There are a wide variety of optional phone features to choose from, including:
- Caller ID
- Call logging
- Interactive voice response
- Multiple lines
- Choice of on-hold music
- Voice mail
- Voice mail to email
Some enterprise phone systems can even take advantage of Artificial Intelligence to listen to the person’s responses and determine which problems require human intervention.
How Reliable is Your Internet?
Many businesses are now opting for VOIP and Cloud-Based business phone systems. While they add many features and benefits that you can’t get with an older analog system, they also require a stable and good internet connection.
If your offices have poor internet, it can negatively impact the phone system. This especially holds true if you’re located in an area where the internet is prone to outages, such as thunderstorms or hurricanes.
Also, consider any monthly bandwidth allotments—if some of your departments have heavy internet usage (video phone conferencing/etc.), it could potentially cause the internet of the entire office to slow down to a crawl—including your phone system.
Compatibility with Current System?
How compatible will a new proposed phone system be integrated with the other business tools that you use? CRM software, ticket management software, and emails can all be incorporated into a modern business phone system.
Take inventory of the various tools your company uses, and then ask the phone system sales rep whether or not the system they are proposing is compatible and will work in tandem.
How good (or bad) is the customer service that you receive from your provider? Many businesses often overlook this critical consideration when choosing a business phone system.
It’s important to ask questions and vet out the company that’s providing the services. For example, how easily—and quickly—can you reach your provider in the event of a technical issue or phone outage?
As the old saying goes, “time is money,” and every passing minute your phone system is down can result in loss of revenue. This is why you should look for a provider whom you can trust and who has a proven track record of customer satisfaction.
Which Business Phone System is Right for Your Company?
Choosing the right business phone system requires a bit of due diligence and homework. There are a wide variety of options, features, and benefits that can add an immense amount of value to not only your company but your customers as well.
At NTi, we have over 30 years of experience providing our customers with the right business phone system for their budget. Over this time, we’ve developed long-term relationships with our customers based in part on the top-notch customer service immense value that we strive to add.