If your business is preparing to upgrade your communications technology, or if you’re a new business owner just starting out, choosing the right phone system is one of the more important decisions you’ll make. You may wonder, “Can’t I just use a traditional system?” The answer is yes, of course, but you may regret it in the future.
After you make the big initial investment in a traditional installation, you’ll spend the next few years waiting to get your return on investment while watching your competition outpace you with a better customer experience. They’ll also attract better talent because employees value quality-of-life benefits like mobility and collaborative, shared workspaces – two things available with hosted systems.
There are a variety of phone systems out there that can better serve the needs of businesses. While traditional may be just fine for you, a phone system vendor can help you figure out if you should spend your time and money on a different technology.
The following is a guide designed to help you in choosing the right business phone system.
Premise-based phone systems: These are supported by a local telephone company and run over copper wires. You may use analog phone lines, PRIs, or VoIP (discussed in the next section). Premise phone systems are located in your office and require analog lines, PRIs, or another type of phone service.
Advantages: There are still some situations where a more traditional system makes the most sense, such as a small business located in a community with spotty internet access. They are also reliable and familiar.
Drawbacks: If there’s a problem with your system, you may have to wait to get it repaired because of its physical nature.
VoIP phone service: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses an internet connection for voice call transmissions. It can also support a variety of other features including collaborative tools such as video conferencing and shared workspaces. VoIP phone service incorporates your PBX hardware and desk phones to help you get more life out of your equipment.
Advantages: You always maintain control and visibility of your system.
Drawbacks: You’ll have a big initial investment in equipment, and you’ll need someone on staff to handle managing your phone system. If not, your vendor will do so.
Hosted VoIP: There’s little initial investment other than the phones with this option, and the provider houses and maintains the PBX hardware, as well as updates.
Advantages: Hosted VoIP is ideal for small businesses just starting out because it can help the business provide a professional face to the public at all times. Cost savings can vary, so it’s best to talk with your provider so you can be sure you are choosing the right business phone system. Copper State Communications is the only provider of hosted VoIP in Arizona that will travel statewide to implement your hosted VoIP solution for your business.
Drawbacks: You no longer have control of your phone system. If there is a problem, you will have to wait for your provider to address it. (Although most providers have contracts with customers about response time.)
Overall, there are a few considerations you should include when determining the right phone system for your enterprise:
Network infrastructure: If you decide to go with a VoIP solution, whether hosted or on-premise, your communications are fully reliant on your network. It’s a good idea to test the speed and performance of your network before you install VoIP to determine whether your infrastructure can handle the added data volume. Your phone system provider can help you with this test.
Features: Businesses of every size are prioritizing the customer experience because they are aware that customers can easily find a competitor if they are forced to wait for a response. Think not only about the features you want right now but also those that would help you outpace your competitors in meeting the needs of customers.
Cost: While it may seem painful at first to give up full control and visibility of your phone system, a hosted VoIP solution may be your most cost-effective option. By contrast, a premise-based phone system comes with a large initial investment, in addition to your monthly invoicing. Be sure to complete a total cost of ownership analysis when choosing the right business phone system.
If you have additional questions or would like help choosing the right phone system, contact us at Copper State Communications.