Is your business still using an old phone system? If that’s the case, then it’s high time you upgraded to a more modern solution. An upgrade will not only enhance communication, but also allow for saving on maintenance costs. Today’s telephone systems pack many more features that enhance connectivity within the organization, while making it easier to serve customers efficiently. But how do you tell what telephone system will serve your business right? If you’re a small business owner, it’s unlikely you’ll need all the features that are available with these phone systems. Here are a few handy tips on selecting the right business telephone system:
What features do you need?
The needs of a large organization with several locations can vary significantly from those of a small enterprise. So assessing your business’ needs is the first step you’ll have to take. What are some of the pain points experienced with the current system, if upgrading? What new features do you need? Some of the features you may need include: voicemail-to-email, call forwarding, conference calling, extension dialing, etc. Remember that the more features needed, the bigger the costs incurred. It’s therefore important to involve your staff in this process so you can find out what features are really essential.
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Look beyond the current needs of the business–remember to factor in the kinds of growth expected in the next few years. How many staff members do you expect to add in two years’ time? Are you planning on opening several locations across the country? If you expect significant growth, it’s vital that you go with a system that will scale easily to meet the demands of your growing business.
Pick between a cloud and an on-premises solution
An on-premises solution means buying the PBX hardware and managing the entire phone system in-house. This requires a huge capital investment, but is advantageous in the sense that businesses have total control of the hardware and telephone service. This solution is obviously not suited to smaller businesses, which may not have a sizeable budget as well as the IT personnel to handle maintenance.
A cloud or hosted solution, on the other hand, means that all the hardware plus the maintenance work is handled by the telephone company. Because you only need to buy IP phones, you’d only need a small investment to get up and running. Most businesses should also find the monthly subscription fee affordable. The downside of this solution is that you will not have full control over the system hardware. Whenever there’s an issue with the telephone service, you’ll have to rely on the provider to sort it out as quickly as possible.