Where should you look for the best business phone system for small businesses.
As markets become global and customer service becomes more important in brand recognition than price and product are, finding a way to connect with customers on their turf is crucial.
What’s the best option for a company trying to keep up with customers in the age of communication? Is it best to rely on a traditional landline? What are the landline options? What other phone system options are there, and where does Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) fit?
Until the past twenty years or so, businesses relied on landlines attached to the Public-Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). In an analog landline, messages are transformed from sounds to electrical currents that are sent through a copper wire from one telephone to another, where they’re reassembled. Up until recent years, this was considered the best business phone system for SMBs. Integrated Services Digital Network lines, or ISDN lines, work much the same way (without having to convert the sound) and were created to move the analog lines to digital ones.
What type of business phone systems are available?
There are a few different telephone systems that can work well with a landline.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
This option is a private network installed at the business site. Workers can access the PSTN through
the outside lines. These types of services are expensive to install and maintain, but the calls are
high-quality. Some businesses
These landline systems can usually connect to the PSTN without having to add more wiring. They’re less expensive to install and maintain than a PBX system, but they also have limited extensions and lines, so it can be difficult to scale with a growing company.
This option works a lot like the Key Systems does, but without the need for a box on site to process the calls. Instead, each phone processes the calls that come to it. KSU-Less Systems are less expensive and more portable than Key Systems or PBX systems, but they don’t integrate as well with modems, fax machines or other devices.
The pros and cons of analog landlines
One of the best features of landlines is that if the power goes out or the internet goes down, the phone system will still work. Landlines are also still familiar to many people. However, as internet-based systems become more prominent in the business world, landlines are beginning to fade into the background. The FCC is even beginning to shut the analog system down, which means that landline systems may become more obsolete over time.
VoIP Phone Systems
With the emergence of technology, there is a new best business phone system on the block. VoIP systems allow companies to connect phone calls over the internet. They’re less expensive than landline systems. They also come with a myriad of features, usually with no additional cost, that allows businesses to connect with clients across the globe, provide high-quality customer service 24/7, and cut back on overhead costs with telecommuting employees.
The pros and cons of VoIP
If the electricity goes out or the internet service goes down, the phone capabilities in a VoIP system will go down, too. There’s also a slight risk of having phone calls hacked or that too many phone calls at once can slow down the on-site internet speed.
However, most of these problems can be addressed within the company. Having an emergency back-up plan such as a generator for electrical outages can alleviate most concerns about losing phone service. Investing in heavy-duty security can thwart the hacking threat, and using off-site or telecommuting customer service representatives can ease the burden on internet speed.
The relatively low cost of VoIP and the features that increase mobility and productivity for businesses make it one of the best business phone systems for companies that want to grow—especially for enterprises that want to get customers from across the globe.
Conclusion: There’s a time and a place…
Companies that are located in a remote rural area where electrical services or internet services are spotty or who aren’t looking to get more customers from out of the area might do well with a landline.
However, businesses seeking to compete in a global economy need features that allow them to be accessible to clients immediately. They also need to provide the best services without raising their base costs. In this case, drawing on the features of VoIP makes a lot of sense.