There are surplus options to pick from when it comes to selecting the best business phone system for your company. Almost every communications service provider offers tech-savvy features in their VoIP systems. So, how do you shortlist a business phone system that works best for your company without challenging yourself to go through the time-consuming process of researching the features of every other service provider?
This blog is designed to help companies identify and define the requirements they expect a VoIP business phone system to cater for. While every business has its own set of unique communication requirements, there are some factors that every business considers when deciding to integrate a communications solution. These factors include:
- Degree of customizations
- Frequency of updates
All the aforementioned factors will be taken into account when discussing the tips to choose the right business phone system for your company. Let’s get started.
1. Define the requirements
The foremost step in choosing the perfect business communication solution is defining the scope, requirements, and value addition that a business can expect to achieve by integrating a certain solution. Once the requirements and goals are set, the rest of the process is simplified every step of the way.
The best approach to define the requirements of a business phone system is to draw a SWOT chart. It helps you identify the key areas of improvement and uncovers the room for opportunities as well. Your company should consider answering the following questions for an effective solution:
- You need to decide first whether you need a landline, VoIP, or a virtual phone system, and where the equipment will be hosted (on-premises or in the cloud)
- Is your business better off using a virtual phone service that relies on mobile devices or would it require a complete phone system with desk phones?
- In case you are looking for desk phones, do traditional telco landlines suffice your needs or do you want to integrate Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP system?
- If your business needs require a VoIP solution, do you have the capacity to host an on-premises system or are you looking for an externally managed/ hosted business phone system?
If you are not sure how to answer these questions, we have still got you covered. Scroll down to get insights on the benefits and limitations of the different types of business phone systems mentioned above. Or you can simply contact the RingOffice cloud communication experts to tailor a cost-effective solution that works best with your business requirements.
Pros and Cons of Various Business Phone Systems
Different types of communication solutions are classified into:
- Traditional Landline Systems
- Virtual Phone Systems
- VoIP System; Voice over Internet Protocol
- On-Premises and Cloud Phone Systems
Traditional Landline Systems
Landlines, also known as PSTNs, are the longest-standing traditional phone systems and are gradually phasing out from business workplaces. These are analogue systems and are usually supported by local phone companies and service providers. This limited utility is also one of the reasons for this system reaching the end of its lifecycle. Most companies are switching from these phone systems to VoIP systems due to their lack of compatibility with the newest communication technologies.
The benefits of using the traditional landline systems are that everyone is comfortable with these devices, they provide a dedicated contact number for every user, and have stood the test of time so it is safe to say they are reliable. Landline communication is also a great communication alternative in the event of internet connections being crashed.
Virtual Phone Systems
A virtual phone system is a go-to solution for companies that support and encourage remote workplace culture. Although it does not have all the features of a contemporary cloud communication system, it still allows businesses to connect callers with their remote employees on a business contact number. In this way, customer support teams can provide a good user experience and interaction even in the absence of an on-site customer contact center. Virtual phone systems feature:
✓ Customized navigational call menu
✓ Automated receptionists
✓ Online fax
✓ Toll-free numbers
✓ Call forwarding, call screening, and voicemail
VoIP phone systems allow businesses to replace the copper wires of a landline phone system with the same internet connection that the very business is already using. In this way, it can be rendered as a cost-effective solution since businesses do not need to procure entirely new hardware for solution implementation. Therefore, a VoIP business phone system for small businesses helps them integrate the same solutions that previously only large-scale corporate companies with PBX hardware had access to. By connecting your VoIP phone with a desktop system, you can simply convert your systems into softphones. It is a low-cost setup with easy configuration and installation with all the essential features such as:
✓ Automated attendants
✓ Call Queues
✓ Computer Integrations
✓ Remote Access
✓ Compatible with existing phone systems
Note: Since this communication solution relies on the availability of the internet, it will cease to work effectively in the absence of a good-quality internet connection.
If you decide to go with a VoIP solution, the next step in defining the requirements is identifying whether you want to host your VoIP on the premise, or if your business works better with a hosted/cloud-based VoIP solution.
On-premises VS Cloud-based PBX system
An on-premises PBX phone system gives your business the entire control of the services. The IT departments of the businesses configure and maintain the PBX hardware to keep the system up and running. The self-hosted system works for companies that can afford a large upfront capital cost of procuring the PBX hardware as well as the recurring costs of SIP trunking; a system through which you can manage the inbound and outbound calls. Therefore, if your business has the capacity to deal with the costs and dedicate human resources to configure and maintain the hardware, a self-hosted PBX system should be your go-to solution.
Cloud-based business phone systems, unlike on-premises systems, remove the business concerns of maintaining, upgrading, and troubleshooting the hardware associated with PBX technology. The only hardware on business premises is the set of telephones and the rest is maintained by an externally managed cloud communications service provider. Therefore, small to medium-sized companies integrate a VoIP business phone system without purchasing the hardware and worrying about fixing any problems that may arise at any given moment.
2. Setting a Realistic Budget
When purchasing software for your business, your budget is one of the most important factors to consider. Setting a realistic and affordable spend for acquiring a communication solution not only helps you shortlist the available options but also allows you to estimate the return on investment (ROI) for a set period of time. Read through the next section to have an idea of how to estimate the budget allocation for a business phone system.
3. Number of Active Users
An essential driving component in determining the perfect business phone system revolves around the number of active users who will be using the communication system proactively. When it comes to this, different types of phone systems offer varying solutions. This factor defines the cost-effectiveness of a certain solution as well. Some business phone systems define the price over a range of users whereas others define the price for the exact number of users. For instance, $14 for the first 20 users and $20/user/month.
In this way, various companies of different sizes can also narrow down the perfect business phone system depending on how many users will use the service and which solution is the most cost-efficient.
4. Compatibility Checks
No solution is worthwhile if it cannot integrate and comply with your existing systems to work. It is, therefore, of crucial importance to verify that your newest business phone system is compatible with your existing phone lines, equipment, and network setup. While it would be a far-stretched idea to hope that a new phone system will completely comply with your existing systems, care must be taken to check whether the required system updates are within your estimated budget or not.
5. Software Review Platforms
There are a number of online software review platforms providing detailed feedback on the efficiency and effectiveness of various software based on authentic peer and business reviews. It is always useful to visit such software review forums to get an idea of how existing users feel about the value addition of certain software. For example, 3CX is rated 4.4/5 on G2; a business software review platform leveraging more than 1.3 million user reviews to drive educated purchasing decisions.
6. Book a Trial | Schedule a Demo
Once you have narrowed down your options for choosing the perfect business phone system for your company, a calculated approach is to schedule a demo or book a free trial of the communication services so that you can have an idea if the solution of your choice:
✓ Operates as anticipated
✓ Is good value for money
✓ Is flexible and customizable
✓ Is compatible and scalable
Finally, this is the best time to learn about their after-sales support and customer success programs. There is a tendency to overlook this, even though it is considered crucial. After all, a business phone system is not just a one-time purchase, but rather a long-term relationship between you and your provider.
Ready to Switch?
Contact RingOffice Cloud Phone System experts here or read more about our 3CX business phone system and services. Our experts evaluate your business requirements, define the scope and tailor a solution that fits best with your business communication needs.