How do you choose a telephone system for your business?

There are many factors to consider when deciding on a telephone system for your business or organisation. Regardless of any other form of communication that now exists, the importance of being able to speak to your customers and them to you cannot be overlooked.

A telephone system is the heart of a business and can make the difference between you and your competitors. But there are so many options to choose from, how do you decide which is right for you?

Consider the following questions:

How big is your operation?

– A sole proprietor
– A medium sized organisation with one office
– A large organisation based on multiple sites

What are your needs?

– Extensions for each employee
– Voicemail for each employee
– Conference calling capabilities
– Mobile operability
– A scalable system that can grow with the business

Think about the tools that would help your employees to work more efficiently. Consider how your business is growing and think about your needs, not just for the present but going forward. Are you likely to move offices at some point? Are you moving towards having a mobile workforce, with fewer office based employees?

How do you make the majority of your calls?

– Internally or between offices
– Externally, UK only
– Overseas

Do you make a high volume of calls and how might this change? Do you need to consider remote working?

Making the choice between a traditional PBX system and VoIP

What is a PBX telephone system?
A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system is a piece of hardware that allows a company to have its own private telephone network, connecting internal phones with each other. The PBX itself connects to the Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN), like an ordinary home landline. For large organisations, a PBX telephone system allows for cheaper calls within the network and negates the need for each individual employee to have a dedicated external phone line.

What is a VoIP telephone system?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology allows calls to be made over the internet, by converting analogue signals to digital ones. It negates the need for traditional analogue telephone lines and with a hosted PBX there is no need for investment in any telephone system hardware. The requirement for a VoIP telephone system is a fast and reliable broadband service and dedicated IP handsets or adaptors.

For small companies, with limited funds, requiring few telephone lines, a VoIP system can be a good option. Unlike a traditional PBX system there is no initial investment required, however, IP handsets are more expensive than analogue ones, so this should be taken into consideration when looking at potential growth of your organisation.

Traditional PBX systems may be an initial investment, however, additional handsets and lines can be added easily and cheaply and the system can grow with your company’s needs.
Do you want to rely on your internet connection for all your communications’ capabilities? Being sure of the strength of your internet connection and potential call quality as a result is an important factor to consider when making the choice between traditional analogue lines and IP.

Final consideration must go to what you may or may not already have in place.
Do you want to add to or replace existing equipment? Sometimes it can be more beneficial and financially viable to work with what you already have rather than to completely replace it for something new.

With a multitude of systems and choices available to you it is important that you choose something that you are sure you can work with.

What features will be available to you?

How easy is it to programme and add new lines or features?

Take advice from a reputable supplier and ask them to provide a demo. Seeing the telephone system in operation will help you to make your final choice.