One of the most important pieces of equipment or software for small business owners is their virtual phone system. Most likely, you’ll use it every day, and if you choose the right one, it can give you a big advantage over your competitors.
After all, phone systems for small business communications are something that every business needs. It’s important for clients, suppliers, and employees to be able to reach you. Small businesses can do this as well as, or even better than, large companies.
If you have the right phone systems for small business, that is. So, how do you know which one is right? What are the benefits of different phone systems for small business and Hosted VoIP providers in Florida?
In this post, we’ll talk about what to look for in a hosted phone system (while keeping your budget in mind), where you might be able to make concessions, and what features you probably shouldn’t cut back on.
A business telephone system is a multiline phone system that is usually used in a business setting. It can be anything from a small key phone system to a large private branch exchange.
A business telephone system is different from installing several phones with multiple central office (CO) lines because the CO lines in a key telephone system can be controlled directly from more than one phone station and the system usually has more call-handling features. Key telephone systems and private branch exchanges are the two main types of business phone systems, but there are also many hybrid systems.
A key telephone system was originally different from a private branch exchange (PBX) because it didn’t need an operator or attendant at the switchboard to make connections between the central office trunks and stations or between stations. Private branch exchanges are similar to central office phone systems in terms of how they work, and in larger or more complex systems, they may have the same features and capacity as a central office system. With a key telephone system, a station user could control the connections directly by pushing line buttons, which had built-in lamps to show the status of each line.
What is a phone systems for small business, exactly?
First, let’s look at what phone systems for small business really are. And no, it’s not just your cell phone.
Technically, phone systems for small business are telephony solutions that allow your company to make and receive outgoing and incoming business calls (at a very basic level). But besides that, you’ll probably also need something that lets you transfer and forward calls to, say, your personal cell phone.
Types of Business Phone System Options Available to You
If you’re like most small businesses, you’ll probably choose between two main types: a business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service that uses softphones or IP phone systems, or a PBX (private branch exchange) system that uses traditional phone lines.
- VoIP phone system: The more complex and hands-on choice. It uses your internet connection to make phone calls. It’s easy to set up and you can pay as you go, so you don’t have to spend much (or anything) right away. These usually come with apps called “softphones” that can be used on Android or iOS phones (and even other mobile devices like iPads).
There are also phone systems that call themselves “unified communications platforms.” This is a newer term, and these types of business phone systems usually come with other ways to talk, like SMS and instant messaging.
- PBX systems: This is the option that requires a larger outlay of capital. Typically, you’ll need to invest in additional hardware and pay an IT professional to help you make changes like adding users or updating voicemail settings. A PBX system will require more work in general, but some have evolved and are better at this.
It’s important to keep in mind that a phone systems for small business is about more than just how and what you use to make calls. They are all about connecting your business with clients or customers, partners, remote employees, and anyone who happens to be abroad for the month.
In other words, they’re the very foundation that a modern communications-based business is built on.
9 Features to Look For When Shopping For a Phone Systems For Small Business
Business phone solutions keep getting better and better. Before you start looking for a new small business phone service provider, it’s a good idea to know what kinds of features and extra functions you could take advantage of.
These are nine of the most important and helpful features that will improve the way your small business runs.
1. Call forwarding to your mobile phone
If you’re not always at your desk and usually take calls on your cell phone, then a call forwarding service is one of the top features you’ll need.
In Dialpad, you can add your cell phone number to your Settings with just two clicks. Now you can make sure that your calls are automatically forwarded to your cell phone:
This is helpful for more than one reason. First, you can instantly move all calls away from a phone or other device that is having technical problems.
Second, it’s a great way to make sure calls that would normally go to employees who aren’t there are still answered. Let’s say one of your workers is sick for a week when they were supposed to be taking important calls. Just change the routing settings, and those calls will go straight to the phone line of someone in the business who is available.
2. Easy call transfer (and call routing)
Again, if you run a small business, you’re probably busy and spread way too thin. That means you can’t possibly answer every single call you get.
But what if it’s a big client or potential customer? You shouldn’t miss those calls. This is when a call transfer or call forwarding feature would come in handy. You could set up your calls to go straight to your office manager, secretary, or even sales team if you don’t answer.
With Dialpad, you can choose to forward calls to up to five landline or mobile numbers, even if they aren’t Dialpad numbers.
A good phone system can make sure that your small business almost never misses a call again, whether it’s on your colleague’s cell phone or desk phone.
3. The ability to keep your existing business phone number
Unless you’re starting a brand-new business from scratch, you’ll need to be able to port over your existing business phone number. Why? Because the last thing you want is for your customers and suppliers to have to update your phone number in their contact list, which they already have.
With Dialpad, it’s easy to keep your old phone numbers and keep things running smoothly. Your clients will have less work to do because they won’t have to change the number they’ve saved for you, and you’ll have less work to do because you won’t have to change the numbers on your website or other portals.
4. Cloud-based capabilities and compatibility with your mobile device
A cloud phone system is basically a phone system that isn’t tied to one location or office. With a cloud phone system, you can make calls from anywhere. It usually comes with a mobile app and a desktop app, and any software updates will be installed automatically without IT help.
A big benefit of using a cloud-based phone service is that it is easy to set up and manage. This means that you can easily do things like add a new user or new hire to your phone system yourself.
With a business phone service like Dialpad, it’s easy to take care of the administrative side of your communications. Change an employee’s business number, edit extension numbers, and do more:
If you want to be able to do anything you want with your phone, you need a cloud-based solution that works well with mobile devices and handsets. Almost nothing can be done to change that.
5. Caller ID
This one is a must-have. No one wants to answer a telemarketer’s call, so everyone screens their calls now.
In Dialpad, for example, when you call someone, you can choose which caller ID to show:
Your business phone service is more useful and flexible if you can change how you look to the people you call.
This is especially helpful if you make a lot of phone calls at work. Depending on whether you show up as Firstname Lastname, Mx Lastname, or a nickname, you get to set the tone before the other person even picks up the phone.
6. In-call security and encryption
If you talk about sensitive data and information on your calls, you will need some level of security. The best level of security is enterprise-grade. Always check with your provider to see what kind of security features they have.
7. Visual voicemail
If you’re a busy person who sometimes misses phone calls or can’t always find time to listen to all your voicemails, you’ll want this.
Visual voicemail is a feature that translates your voicemails into text, so you can read them at any time (like during a meeting) instead of having to play them back out loud.
Dialpad Ai uses AI and machine learning to transcribe your calls and voicemails in real time and more accurately than almost all of its competitors. It also gives you the option to follow up on and forward voicemails:
8. Call recording
Some phone systems for small business find it useful to be able to record calls. Not everyone will use this or use it very often, but if you close a lot of deals over the phone or make a lot of sales pitches over the phone, having recordings is helpful because you can go back and listen to them later.
Call recordings make it easier to find proof of important things talked about on a client call or to look at calls to figure out how to improve a pitch in the future.
9. SMS (internal and external)
Ah, texting. Today, everyone does it, and some people even prefer to text instead of call. You can’t blame them, since it’s so easy.
If you work with clients or prospects who also prefer texting, or if you’d rather text yourself, look for a business phone provider with an app that lets you send SMS messages.
For instance, did you know that the Dialpad app can be used to make phone calls, video calls, and SMS texts? Some of our customers are schools and colleges that use this feature to text students. Gen Z loves texting, so this is a great way to reach them: