A small business phone system can help a small business to operate more efficiently as well as minimize communication costs. Unfortunately, most phone systems are given little consideration when a business is first starting out. Communication with business clients and customers is essential to any successful business and should be given careful consideration before the final decision is made.
There are many different options available to the business owner when looking at a small business telephone system. Most of the time, basic features are needed to conduct business on a day-to-day basis. Things such as call holding, call forwarding, music on hold, and voice mail are all basic features that most businesses use during the course of communicating with customers or clients. For this reason it is important that any system being considered has these options available.
Since communication is the core of any business, considerations must be made for how the business operates and which features would be considered most important. As an example, if the business is involved in the delivery of physical products then having a way to communicate with drivers and dispatch deliveries would be important. A small business phone system in this particular case would need to include features that allow the dispatcher to communicate with the drivers as well as sales personnel and other employees scheduling deliveries. This type of system might include a feature that allows extensions to be forwarded to cellular phones so that drivers can be reached simply by calling their extensions.
The above scenario is just one of many ways in which having a properly configured small business system can streamline productivity and save the company money. Larger businesses have enjoyed this advanced technology for some time and now many manufacturers are now making these features available to smaller businesses. Technology such as voice over IP and automatic call distribution are now being integrated into small business phone systems.
One benefit to small businesses is having an auto attendant to route calls. With this technology in place, there is no need to have someone answering the phone simply to transfer the call to another person. The phone system can route these calls based on the last name of the person they’re trying to reach or entering the extension directly if they happen to know it. If the business does not have an operator, there are ways that the system can be set up to route calls should the caller press zero.
Voice over IP technology has become the norm in telecommunications solutions. This technology allows businesses large and small to leverage their existing network for the transmission of voice communication. Phones for small business are now using this technology to allow them to have communication without boundaries. Like their larger counterparts, small businesses are taking advantage of the versatility that voice over IP provides. No longer limited to the office, employees can take their extensions with them so no matter where they’re at, they can conduct business seamlessly. Another advantage to employee mobility is that customers and clients are given one phone number. Giving a client or customer a cell phone number often results in an employee always being available whether actually at work or not. By giving a client an extension on the phone system, they will only be able to reach the employee during normal business hours. The phone system provides a voice mail where the client or customer can leave a message. During times when the employee is at work, the extension can then be forwarded to the cell phone so that the employee can be reached if he or she is out of the office.
A large consideration when choosing a small business telephone system is one of supportability. Many smaller businesses do not have internal IT support. For this reason, when purchasing the phone system support should be included in the contract price. However, if the business does have internal IT support they will need to be trained on how to add extensions and provide other basic maintenance that the business needs on a day-to-day basis.
Toll fraud can cost a small business lots of money before they realize that it has occurred. Security is of the utmost importance when implementing a small business phone system. Toll fraud occurs when unauthorized calls are made using the phone system and the phone lines attached to it. These calls are often made to overseas locations at the expense of the business. They often don’t realize it until they receive the bill and question the nature of the calls. Most of the time in these cases, the phone company will rarely reversed the charges. This is why it is important that the phone system be set up to minimize this risk. Additionally, a phone system should have the ability to block calls to specific parts of the world or to limit employees to making only local calls if needed.
The type of circuit used for phones for small companies is typically what is called a POTS line. POTS, an acronym for “plain old telephone system” is a single phone line identical to what you would see in a typical home setting. The limitation of the POTS line is that it can only handle one phone call at a time. In order for a business to receive more than one call at a time the phone company must bring in multiple POTS lines. They’re then configured in the small business telephone system as a “trunk group”. The phone system then distributes the calls to individual extensions. Due to limitations of standard phone lines, many small businesses are taking advantage of the newer technologies such as voice over IP. Since data circuits can be used for more than just voice traffic, it’s become quite appealing to even the small business owner.
A business system is becoming a necessity for many small businesses. In order to compete with larger businesses, the smaller companies must appear bigger than they are. Since many consumers will often go with well-known names, smaller businesses are going to have to work harder to establish Customer confidence. When a customer calls and the call is answered in a professional manner, the customer is more confident about the potential transaction. Having a small business telephone system puts a smaller company on the same playing field as its larger competitors.