There’s nothing worse than losing potential business because you’re not set up to route an incoming call to a key employee who’s stepped out of the office.
Routing problems, poor call quality, missed calls, and having no auto attendant are all good reasons to consider making the move to a hosted phone system.
Today’s cloud-based phone system options are fairly plug-and-play, but there are still a few things you should know before you dive into a new phone configuration. This post walks through the basics so you know exactly what to expect.
Today’s Office Phone Systems
Small businesses that opt for a networked calling system for streamlined communications will get to choose between Cloud or Hosted PBX, Multi-line or Traditional system setups.
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Cloud or Hosted PBX (HPBX)
These systems move the phone line infrastructure to an off-site location using Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to deliver high quality, dynamic and scalable, services to your business. These are the most flexible of all the options, and allow you to have two phones or 1000 phones that can be placed on any good internet connection and keep everyone connected. The features and functions are processed in the cloud remotely. Cloud-based phone systems are set up to replace on-premises VoIP or PBX systems, as well as local carrier voice services with more dynamic services delivered via the internet.
This setup is the traditional system you’ll see in most offices in our area. The lines are interconnected and have individual numbers, keeping connection between staff and customers unified for a single location.
Traditional On-Premises PBX
Also known as private branch exchange systems, this setup uses your business phone lines to route calls through a private on-site network. It also offers special features like conference calling, hold options, and routing.
Assessing Your Office Phone Needs
Regardless of the type of system you ultimately choose, the vendor you select to implement your new phone system will need the following basic information about your company:
- The locations you will need to be able to receive calls
- The nature of your staff’s work and whether they work on site or remotely or both
- How many employees you have who will need phone access
- Whether you need toll free numbers
- Whether you want to put your fax and other on-premises components in the cloud
The vendor will then ask for an assessment of your phone usage. This will include gathering details about domestic and international calls by the minute, and making a decision about whether you need a metered or unmetered voice lines.
Special Features and Insights about Hosted Phone Systems
Hosted phone service bundles typically come with some built-in features you’ll benefit from immediately. Customer service is an important part of any modern business, and for smaller companies or companies that are evolving, having an auto attendant set up is important. Dynamic call routing and an auto attendant feature will allow your business to capitalize on your customers’ inquiries, quickly putting them in touch with the person or department they need.
Setting up these features can be achieved with the help of your system technician, or you can do it yourself with the help of third-party tools. If you move to one of these VOIP hosted systems, your internet will still be delivered by your internet provider. One of the potential drawbacks to be aware of if you do go this route is a potential slowdown of service resulting in a bit of static if someone’s watching a webinar or downloading an update on their computer while call volume is high. If this happens, the only support you’ll get from the internet provider is the assurance that the internet speed is reaching your modem properly. They won’t be able to help with call quality so long as they internet is working right. With a managed service provider, on the other hand, you’ll get more support when anything is amiss with your phone system.
Switching to a hosted phone service is very easy to accomplish. With today’s options, you can release dependence upon your phone lines and transition seamlessly into a more cloud-based phone system with bells and whistles that will make you and your employees’ work lives simpler and more accessible.