In our last post we discussed a few of the things that modern phone systems should be able to do. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the options that are currently available. We’ll also give you some questions to ask as you’re making your decision.
Once upon a time, if you needed a business phone system, it was a simple matter of calling your local telephone provider. They would set you up with a landline phone that had one or multiple extensions. Today, there are many options to choose from when it comes to selecting a phone system to meet your needs.
Common Phone System Options
A few of the most common phone system options include:
Landlines – The traditional option available through your local telephone carrier is still a good option for some businesses.
VoIP systems – VOIP phone systems use the internet, rather than a landline, to place and carry calls. VOiP calls can be made from a computer, or “soft phone.” A soft phone is software that acts as a phone interface. Soft phones allow you to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions right from your computer. Conversations usually take place through a headset or a microphone and computer speakers.
There are two basic flavors of VOIP systems: self-hosted and cloud-based. Self-hosted VOIP requires that a company have the technical know-how and budget to invest in managing all the technical requirements in house. It’s cost effective for those that have the capability. However, for most smaller businesses, a cloud-based or outsourced VOIP system managed by a third party may make more sense.
Virtual phone systems – Virtual phone systems allow your business to use mobile phones instead of traditional landline phones or VOIP. It’s a step up from simply making calls from your mobile device. Virtual phone systems are driven by software that provided much of the functionality you’d expect from a business phone, and provides a business-like appearance in caller ID.
It’s also possible to create a hybrid phone system solution that combines these three options to meet your specific needs.
Choosing Phone Systems: Questions to Ask
None of these options works perfectly for every company – the phone system that works best for your business really depends on your budget, requirements, and unique needs. Asking the right questions that can help you select the right option for your business.
- Does your business need a phone system with physical telephone handsets? Would a system that relies mainly on cell phones or desktop computers do the trick? This will depend on the size of your business and whether you have a physical office, multiple locations, spend a lot of time in the field, and other factors.
- What kind of service makes more financial sense for your business? Landline phone systems are cheaper than they used to be, but VOIP is least expensive when comparing service packages with similar features.
- Does your company have the technical skill and experience to manage a phone system in house? Or would outsourcing to a cloud-based provider make more sense?
There’s a lot to consider when trying to decide between phone systems. If you need assistance with your decision, contact Tolar Systems for a phone system assessment today.