What’s the Best Virtual Phone System for Small Business?

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Why Finding The Best Virtual Phone System For a Small Business Is Essential

 

Finding the best virtual phone system for a small business may be challenging. At the same time, having a reliable infrastructure to receive and make calls is essential. Without it, customer service goes out the window, along with sales leads.

According to HubSpot, a reputable CRM platform, “Even in today’s digital world, customers often prefer phone support when reaching out to customer service. The immediacy and familiarity of talking on the phone with a real human build trust between a customer and customer service agent.”

There used to be only one choice for phone systems, but there are several options these days. Sure, it’s easy to stay with the tried and true traditional setup, but perhaps, a more modern one is better for your needs.

Let’s learn the basics and then take a look at some of the choices available to find out.

Business Phone Systems Basics

Most companies use a business phone system. It consists of a calling network infrastructure that manages all the communications. Its purpose is to handle companies’ complex needs, customer service calls, and the call routing that carries calls to the correct person. 

Some of the more useful features available in a business telephone system include the following:

  • Call Transfer
  • Greetings
  • Hold Music
  • Dial-by-Name Directory
  • Call Detail Records
  • Call Handling Rules
  • Text Messaging

Related: Provide Top-notch Service on a Bootstrap Budget

Types of Business Phone Systems

Virtual Phone Systems

Modern business phone systems go beyond tradition; they are full-service, virtual phone systems for small business communications that utilize high-speed internet connections and hosted software. A virtual phone system can have all the same features as an old-fashioned PBX without all the equipment, plus modern features businesses require.

These phone systems meet the varied needs of a growing business. They allow teams and employees to keep in touch seamlessly using a bevy of powerful tools. VoIP technology is the base of virtual phone systems.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines VoIP as “a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long-distance, mobile, and international numbers. Also, while some VoIP services only work over your computer or a special VoIP phone, other services allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter.”

With VoIP, the handling of call routing and signal processing happens remotely, requiring only a small monthly fee. You can save significant money and time with a virtual business phone system while still gaining functionality, easier and faster scalability, and more customized implementation.

VoIP systems are a good choice for any business but, mainly, for small businesses. The main reason for this is its flexibility. Adding new users and features as your business grows is easy and instant.

Since this system uses cloud technology, it works well with mobile phones. That makes it ideal for businesses with virtual offices, remote employees, or that need to keep employees connected to customers on the go.

Having a virtual phone system for small businesses doesn’t mean “mobile-only.” You can have a virtual phone system that works with traditional handsets, computers, and mobile phones. These systems quickly adapt to your needs, even as they evolve. 

Here are some of the critical advantages of using the cloud for your phone system:

  • You can save the cost associated with housing the equipment on-site.
  • A third-party server hosts the system, so you don’t have to think about maintenance—your provider handles that.
  • Since it is super easy to expand, your virtual office can grow or shrink as needed.
  • Your monthly phone costs are usually much less than a traditional phone system.
  • It is easy to install without the need for outside consultants.
  • They work with smartphones and other internet-connected devices.
  • You are free to choose whatever area code you want for your business.
  • Callers enjoy HD call quality.

One of the main concerns people have about switching to a virtual phone system is that they’ll be relying on the provider rather than their IT team to ensure the system is up and running. It is critical to make an intelligent choice when you select your vendor.

Related: How to Set up a Virtual Phone System for Your Small Business

Traditional

Compared to a virtual phone system for a small business, a traditional setup requires a local PBX (private branch exchange) system to manage multiple lines. Physical lines connect these and then link them together within an on-site network. The system is often installed and maintained by an external company, such as an IT consultant or PBX reseller.

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, “A PBX system consists of a cabinet of electronic equipment in your office. Substantial costs are involved to purchasing the equipment and for monthly charges. Lower cost is the principal reason for companies to adopt VoIP systems.”

Adding to that, Techradar reports that “PBX systems can cost more than 10 times as much. For a business with around 30 users, expect to pay between $700 and $1,000 per user for setting up a new system. Much of this cost comes from paying for PBX-ready handsets and wiring. Once your system is up and running, a PBX system typically costs around $50 per line per month.”

Typically, PBX creates an extension for each user by assigning one of the local PBX lines. In most cases, extensions use a three or 4-digit number used to route calls to a specific person’s desk. Extending this system as your company grows requires additional hardware. It also takes time to have the changes made, which makes this process costly and time-consuming, even taking your communications ability offline for a time. 

Therefore, cost and limitations are some of the main reasons small business owners have second thoughts about traditional PBX technologies for their phone systems.

Positives

  • Able to handle hundreds of lines
  • Doesn’t need an internet connection
  • Offers on-site or hosted options

Negatives

  • Expensive to upgrade or reconfigure
  • Costly monthly phone bill
  • Needs frequent maintenance and servicing

What are the Key Points for Buying the Best Virtual Phone System for a Small Business?

When you are shopping for a small business phone system, there are a few things that will help define your search. When it comes to finding the best fit for your business, keep these in mind:

  • Budget: Ensure you understand all of the initial and monthly fees for the set of services you need.
  • Reputation: Because the market for virtual phone systems is varied, there are many vendors on the scene. Make sure you pick one with a proven track record and has a good reputation for customer success. 
  • Fit: Some vendors are focused on servicing giant corporations. If you are a smaller team, they may not be concentrating on your type of business’s essential features. You don’t want to pay for the development of features you will never use, so choose a vendor that focuses on customers’ needs.

Having flexibility and many features to choose from while saving money is essential when deciding your business’s best phone system. If you still aren’t sure if virtual is the way to go for you, Phone.com can help you get started.

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