What are the Options?
In a world of an ever-changing technological landscape, it can be hard to keep up with changes in the industry and understand how they may apply to you and your business. In this article, we will review business phone options and break down the different types.
These are the tried and true methods of telephone communication. Their basic design and operation have been time-tested for decades. They used to be the only business phone systems available, until recently. Large businesses who can afford to maintain them and employ dedicated IT staff to manage their operation, still use them.
Pros: Reliable and possess a familiar ease of use
Cons: Typically not the best economic choice for smaller businesses
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Systems
As the name implies, VoIP systems are connected to the phone network via the web. They allow for call queues, automated messages, and integration into a computer or mobile device. They allow for a massive amount of customizability and features that were not available at an affordable price, until just recently.
- Extremely versatile and customizable
- Affordable compared to wired systems
- If your internet goes out, your phones go out
- Can be complex for users without technical knowledge and experience
Self-Hosted VoIP Systems
This is a VoIP system identical to the one above but differs in that you and your business own and operate the equipment necessary for the system. This is typical for businesses that don’t want a wired system, but have the IT staff to operate a complex system.
- You are in control of your system and have access at all times
- Complete customizability
- Significant costs and maintenance requirements
Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
This is a VoIP system that only requires an internet connection. All of the hardware is housed and maintained off site by a service provider. This is often the solution for businesses on a budget or early startups.
- No hardware or IT staffing requirements
- Affordable and flexible
- You are not in control of the hardware
- If the system goes down you can only wait for your provider to fix the issue
Virtual Business Phone Systems
These systems work by connecting a business line to workers or employees who are operating remotely via their home phone or cell phone. They are, in essence, an extensive call forwarding solution for a business with staff working “off base.” These systems usually benefit businesses with exclusively (or nearly) remote workers and staff or sole proprietor businesses where you are the assistant, staff, and manager and need to be able to field calls regardless of your location.
- Gives workers access to business phone features which are often not available in traditional cell phones
- Presents a professional face to clients and customers regardless of employee location
- Not a real phone system since calls are still processed by your phone
- Affects your mobile or home phones minutes or data usage
What will work best for your business? With these options you now have a great deal of choice and flexibility. From tried and true landlines to cutting edge cloud-based services, business telephones are no longer a simple tool for communication. They are a complex and powerful tool to help you run a better business.
ESI Comm is able to install and maintain all of the systems listed above. Business phone systems in Columbia and Sikeston, MO are a specialty of ours. Call us for quote and to discuss options for your unique business needs today.