How to Choose a Phone System Vendor for Your Business
Although a lot of communication is done via email and social networking, effective telephone skills are still important for running a business.
Here are the phone system options you have as well as some guidelines to follow when choosing a phone system vendor for your business.
Three Main Types of Phone Systems
There are three primary phone systems to choose from and the first we will discuss is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This system relies on the Internet to operate and works well for smaller businesses where only a few phone lines and voicemail systems are needed. To ensure high-quality phone calls with minimal disturbances, you will need an adequate amount of bandwidth.
Another option is a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system. It’s considerably more sophisticated than a VoIP phone system and can accommodate the needs of most medium and large businesses. One of the key features of a PBX is its switching equipment, which allows you to route phone calls to different employees and to outside lines. This system can help with organization and is ideal if your business has several departments. Because most of these systems include an auto-attendant feature, this can alleviate many complications and conveniently connect callers to the appropriate parties.
The third option is a Virtual PBX. This type of system can be layered on top of your existing VoIP system or landlines and doesn’t require a permanent office installation. Some common features include a toll-free phone number, voicemail, basic auto-attendant, and call forwarding. :
Phone System Installation and Training
Once you know which type of system is right for your business, there are a few factors to consider when choosing a specific phone system vendor. Some vendors take care of the installation process while others leave it up to you. It’s important to understand their set-up policies when making a decision. Also, many phone systems require training, so select a vendor that can accommodate you and your employees. This is especially important with complicated systems, like PBX.
The Importance of Good Technical Support
Choose a vendor that offers some type of assistance when an inevitable glitch or issue arises. Whether you have a question concerning a particular feature or you experience equipment failure, you want to have quick access to a knowledgeable support staff. You may also want a vendor that has an emergency service agreement, where you pay a minimal fee to get quick repairs at any time. A good agreement should include 24/7 assistance that covers weekends and holidays.
Upgrading Your System
Like any other technology, phone systems need to be updated periodically, so it’s best to go with a vendor that can handle software and hardware updates. In some cases, this can be done remotely, while other times they’ll send someone to manually perform updates. This should optimize your phone system’s performance and prevent the need to continually invest in new equipment.
The size of your business and specific needs will ultimately dictate the type of phone system you choose. Once installed, it should optimize verbal communication among your customers and employees, as well as other businesses and contacts. By streamlining this aspect of daily operations, your efficiency should improve and you can get more done in less time.