The right business phone solution can increase your business reach by up to 74%.
Aside from reaching your target audience locally, you can market to the global audience as well.
Business phone solution may be an added expense to your company, but it’s a must-have if you want to maintain a seamless communication line between employees, coworkers, and customers are one of the most important things in an organization.
Unfortunately, not much has been done about it. In fact, a lot of businesses ignore it, probably because they haven’t yet run into muddy waters with their communication lines.
Your business could lose clients, sales, and revenue if your clients didn’t know who, where, or when to call.
If you’re still skeptical about business phone system and why you need it, here’s what industry reports show.
Phone calls are still a big part of the business equation, according to 2016 Call Intelligence Index, “65% of customers still prefer to call a business’ phone number to make inquiries or buy a product.”
Business phone service may not seem as glamorous as using the latest smartphone, laptop, or printer, but that doesn’t demean their importance in growing a business.
Phone systems are actually the silent heroes of the office. The system runs at the backend to power the business. Most startups completely ignore their business’s phone systems until they’re in a dire situation when it fails to function properly.
We’ve dealt with such issues in the past; which I wouldn’t even wish for my enemy. The situation can be stressful and unbearable.
In an ideal world where technology provides significant leverage, you need to take advantage of it and ensure your business phone service provides the right features for effective collaboration, growth, and development.
What is Business Phone Service?
Business phone service, which is often times referred to as Business VoIP allows users to make calls over the internet. The system works by using Voice over Internet Protocol to initiate calls using special internet rules.
Business phone service is different from the traditional phone services because it comes with extra features for which you’re not required to pay extra, such as call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and more. Also, it allows you to send documents while engaging in a conversation with your co-workers or customers.
Why You Should Use a VoIP/Business Phone Service?
There’s a big difference between a business phone service (a.k.a. a VoIP) and a traditional phone system. Tabarka Studios, a high-end building materials manufacturer used Nextiva VoIP phone solutions to cut phone costs by 60%.
If you run a startup or are a part of a small business, Here are the core reasons why you should consider subscribing to a business phone service:
- You want to share one phone number among several users at the same time.
- You want to increase productivity in the workplace, and you want to track call duration, wait times, hold times, and general usage.
- You want to save ongoing costs. Yes, the traditional phone system costs more.
- You want to be able to use a desk phone, a computer, or a mobile phone to receive and make calls within and outside the organization.
That being said, there are 10 essential factors to consider when choosing a new business phone service provider or upgrading your existing system.
Let’s dive in.
Whether you’re a small, mid-size, or large business, the cost is a major concern. The cost of running a business is a major factor when it comes to business phones and other communication technologies.
The cost will vary depending on the type of system you choose.
For example, if you choose a standard analog phone system, then you’re going to pay significantly less than an organization that chooses a hosted PBX designed with all of the cutting-edge bells and whistles.
As always, the levels of functionality, call clarity, and synchronization will greatly differ as well.
Spend some time to write out a plan for a new business phone service that covers the following details:
- The number of phones you’ll need
- How many new phones you plan to add over the next 2 to 3 years
- If your business plans on expanding
- How many of your company’s employees, telecommute
- The cost of service contracts, repair costs, and lease agreements for the current system.
Once you’re armed with the correct ideas of how many phones you’ll need, it becomes a lot easier to estimate how much money you’re comfortable spending on each business phone, and whether or not that compares to your current costs.
Aside from the initial cost of phones, you also need to calculate the cost of hardware, installation equipment, ISDN/SIP trunking charges, platform charges, and regular service charges that you may encounter when upgrading your system.
There are companies that found that by leasing phones from a service provider and are being charged a steady fee instead of a fixed lump sum upfront, they’re able to achieve greater flexibility.
In turn, this can be a more favorable alternative instead of the one-time large upfront payment.
Remember, though, that investing in a business phone solution for your business is a step in the right direction. Make sure you align your budget according to the increased productivity you expect with the new phone system.
Yes, the right business phone solution can expand your reach and there are proofs to back up this claim. Here’s one example: When Bridge, A Christian Radio Station located in Harrington transitioned to Nextiva, they began to grow quickly and now serves over 50,000 listeners in Maryland, Virginia, and Southern New Jersey.
So why is business ‘VoIP’ cheaper than traditional phone calls?
Well, VoIP uses packet switching to initiate a call over the internet. Data is usually split into packets, and are assigned specific information as they’re transferred over the networks.
At the receiving end, each of the packets is sent in sequence to reform the data that will, in turn, be communicated.
Once you’ve decided on the budget, the next thing to do is to determine which types of phones the employees in the organization really need.
A lot of business phone service providers will partner with you to design a network of phones that delivers the exact functions you need.
You can then categorize the workforce in your organization according to job type and responsibilities plus calling habits that each role demands.
For example, a customer care attendant at a large company will definitely need access to multiple phone lines to enable seamless communication. This customer attendant will also need speakerphone, hands-free options as well as hold and transfer capabilities.
Again, a supervisor who will only be making or receiving fewer calls might only need a phone with a simple system, fewer functionalities beyond a keypad and voicemail.
Remember also that some employees will spend most of their hours in the office, so make sure you consider those who are frequently working offsite — and would be able to benefit from the “follow-me” services that some providers like Nextiva provides.
With this ‘follow-me’ feature, there’s the ability to reroute incoming calls to alternate phone numbers.
The number of international calls being made from your organization’s phone lines will also impact the pricing, and you may resolve that Voice over Internet Protocol phone services offers better rates than analog phone services.
Companies of different sizes can benefit from mixing and matching of phones, especially when they anticipate huge growth or with various departments whose needs and responsibilities might change in the future.
Combined with the growth you’re experiencing in your current location, bear in mind that any additional offices you might acquire in the nearest future.
A company that uses a traditional analog phone system, but uses multiple offices, might be spending so much money with respect to private line connections at the main office when additional locations are concerned.
That’s why business service services come in because once your systems are connected via IP connections, the process of creating an expansive network will be pretty easier and more affordable.
Where do you see your business in a few years time? Don’t just buy a phone system that will meet your company’s needs now, but instead look into the future.
Will your current phone system be able to scale. For example, Nextiva has features for a small business, but it’s very much easy to scale as your business grows.
For example, if you expect rapid growth in your company in the next few months or years, you’ll need a business phone system that’s designed to handle the extra weight and new technologies.
If you choose to buy a mid-level phone system that can grow as your company grows, even though right now your company may rarely need to capabilities that comes with standard service, but don’t think you’re wasting money.
Sooner or later, your company will grow dramatically and you’ll have needs for the conference calls, extensive calling features, and numerous extensions.
It’s always a better approach to have the option to add on features and modern equipment in tiny steps rather than starting entirely from scratch.
4. Ability to Connect With Other Users
It’s not entirely wise to regard a new phone system in terms of how you and your employees will communicate with it, you also need to consider the callers’ experiences. These callers are mainly your customers and clients, it’s very important.
That being said, here are three options to consider for incoming calls:
- If you’d prefer the caller to hear a dial by name or department directory.
- If you’d prefer some clients call to come in before others
- If you want to be able to seamlessly reroute incoming calls from anywhere to deliver great customer service even if you’re not in the office or it’s closed for the day.
You might want to put a call across to your company to experience the process your real customers and clients go through, you never can tell what you’ll find out.
Take note of the attributes of prompts and automated systems you have noticed when calling other companies.
What exactly did you love?
What did you love? What did you dislike?
This approach will help you to quickly generate a list of what you’d prefer for your own business phone system, and more importantly, what you need to avoid or improve upon.
More so, aside from making things prettier and easier on internal operations, your new business phone solution should benefit customers trying to reach your company.
Given that most of the time, customers will consider your phone system as the first point of call when deciding to buy your product or ask a question.
You need to make the experience a pleasant one. It needs to be quick, easy, and fun.
Once a customer gets beyond the initial messaging, you also need to ensure adequate transfer options, voicemails, and effective conference call capabilities — to improve the customer experience at all levels.
So far, we’ve discussed different phone options and how much impact each of them can make on your business. It’s always good to make a list of the functionality that you need in your business phone service.
First, you need to consider the non-negotiable must-have features for your business. First, think of the non-negotiable must-haves for your business. You need to break down the various procedures that usually take place in your organization, covering the internal and the client-side.
Next, determine the features that you use most often and what options you truly need to streamline or simplify processes.
The moment you’ve outlined those items, it’s time to scale and choose the features you’d like to include, but you can’t do without based on other factors, like the cost.
Keep these features in mind:
- Central office line ringing
- Custom greetings
- Distinctive rings
- Automated directory services
- Do not disturb
- Express conferencing
- Caller ID
- Call blocking
- Call forwarding
- Call logging
- Hands-free alternatives
- Hold options
- Unified Communications (UC)
- Music on hold
- Public address voice paging
- Shared message boxes
- Welcome message
- Multiple lines
- Multiple voicemail recordings
- Speed dialing
- Transfer capabilities
At the end of the day, customer service is the hallmark of a reliable business phone system.
As strange as it may sound, customer service may not be considered at first when choosing a business phone service, probably because the decision makers in most organizations don’t think through the impact of customer service in your company’s reputation.
If your clients can’t get through to you because your phones are unreachable or down, what will happen to your revenue. Do you think they’ll call back later or switch to your competitor instead?
I’m sure you know better.
To help curb this business phone service issues, you need to choose the right provider. With so many providers, it can be difficult to decide. But if you want peace of mind, you should give Nextiva a try, they never fail.