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How to Choose the Right Telephone System for Your Business

Does your business still use an old telephone system? If that’s the case, then it’s high time you upgraded to a more modern solution. Upgrading will not only improve communication, but also allow you to save 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. How can you tell what phone system suits your business though? 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:

Determine what features are needed

The needs of a large organization with several locations can vary significantly from those of a small enterprise. So the first step you must take is to assess the needs of your business. What are some of the pain points experienced with the current system, if upgrading? What new features do you need? A few of the features you may require include: call forwarding, voicemail-to-email transcription, extension dialing, conference calling, etc. Bear in mind that the more features required, the higher 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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Consider future expansion plans
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Don’t just look at the business’ immediate needs; remember to think about the kind of growth you anticipate in the next few years. How many employees do you anticipate adding in two years’ time? Do you plan on opening multiple locations across the country? If you’re anticipating significant growth, it’s important that you select a system that can scale easily to meet your growing business’ demands.

Choose between on-premises and hosted/cloud telephone systems

An on-premises system means purchasing the PBX hardware and managing the entire telephone system within the organization. This needs a huge capital expenditure, but comes with the advantage that businesses have full control of their 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 hosted or cloud system, on the other hand, is one where all the hardware infrastructure plus maintenance tasks are taken care of by the phone company. Because you only need to buy IP phones, you’d only need a small investment to get up and running. The monthly subscription fee should also be affordable for most businesses. 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.