office What phone system is right for your business?
Choosing the most suitable phone system for your business can be a challenge. Whether you're setting up a brand new office or you're switching to a new provider, there are a few factors to consider:
Which phone provider to go with?
What technology do you need?
Where will you host your phone system?
Choosing the right system is a critical component of your sales and marketing cycle. With the right solution to match your business needs, you can unify workers, invoke collaboration, and have access to the tools you need to communicate actively with customers and leads.
IP Desk Phone
Desk phones are your traditional corded phone set up thats sits on each desk scenario. Due to the advancements in technology and greater availability of the internet, traditional landline phone services are being phased out and replaced with IP telephones also known as VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Unlike landline services, IP telephone systems run over the same internet as the company uses, making it a significantly cheaper and simpler solution.
IP Desk Phone Systems: the Benefits and Possible Downsides
- Advanced features for productivity
- Great audio connections
- Can be integrated into CRM
- Can only be used from your desk
- Dependant on internet connection
- No Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities
- Phone reporting can be inaccurate as staff may decide to utilise mobile, app, or other software calling options because of a lack of flexibility
- Slower to scale than software-based phones
Softphones: A Software-based phone alternative
While IP Desk Phones have usability, function, and a hint of nostalgia attached to them, modern softphone software can perform a similar job without the curly cords and bulky handsets. Software-based phones or "softphones" are applications that mimic traditional handsets, usually installed on mobile devices, tablets, or even desktop computers.
These software-based phones let you host video/conference calls, take your work on the go, and reduce office clutter by eliminating an additional component (i.e., the hardware-based phone). Softphones also offer another layer of benefits via reporting - you can leverage metrics and get hyper-analytical on your phone systems, potentially improving your sales cycle, reducing pipeline issues, and creating new opportunities for reps.
Softphones: Benefits and possible downsides
- More cost-effective than Unified Communication systems
- Can work from anywhere
- Allows remote workers to instantly access business systems
- Instant Messaging
- Instant collaboration through video and conference calls
- You don't have to provide a mobile phone number to customers as your landline number is anywhere you are
- You can leverage reporting and metrics
- Can be integrated with your CRM
- Doesn’t require physical equipment to set up
- Reliant on internet connectivity
- Potential reliance on mobile phone batteries
- Phone reporting can be skewed if staff opt to use their regular mobile phone calling app rather than softphone app
- May require the provision of mobile phones to staff
What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the best of both worlds, your hardware and software working together to provide an all-encompassing communications solutions. UCaaS has all of the benefits of desk phone and softphone systems, plus many more. Since you can leverage IP desk phone systems with an ethernet cable, softphones, IM apps, etc. as part of your package, you can custom-build your ideal phone system for your business.
Why are IM and video calling important? Beyond the on-the-job collaboration benefits, the ways that customers are communicating is changing. Over 70% of all smartphone owners in the United States use Facebook Messenger and other IM solutions to communicate. Combine that will shrinking SMS utilisation numbers, its becoming clear that customers love modern communication methods.
UCaaS gives you the ability to untether your workers from their desks and provide a reliable service for your remote workers. Although UCaaS is the most expensive of the three solutions, there are packaged options that are more cost-friendly. UCaaS has reported growth figures of over 20% since 2015 for a reason; it's the best of both worlds.
Unified communications: benefits and possible downsides
- The best features of hardware-based phone systems and software-based systems - together at last
- Flexibility and unparalleled collaboration
- Enables remote and office based employees
- Flexible and scalable
- Instant messaging and video conferencing for instant collaboration
- Clear reporting
- Costs can be higher than traditional systems. But, low upfront costs and easy monthly payments give you higher scale and easier cash flow tracking.
Which phone system should you choose?
Depending on your business needs, one of these compatible solutions could enable your staff and office productivity while increasing customer satisfaction.
Desk phone setups require physical hardware (i.e., the phones themselves) These offer a reliable and cost-effective phone system to workplaces that don’t have the need to provide on-the-go communications to remotely based staff.
Softphone system setups rely on desktop apps to give your workers some of the same functionality as traditional phones without the need for additional hardware. Since it's a digital solution, you can integrate these with your CRM, make video calls, and use Instant Messaging (IMs). However, you’re relying on mobile connectivity, battery life and might have to fork out to provide the mobile handsets
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) integrate hardware and software phone systems with the added benefit of instant messaging, video conferencing and more. While you have the benefits provided by both IP desk phones and softphone systems, having the complete unified communications solution will also cost you more than either solution on their own.
Setting Up Your Phone Service: Moving to the Cloud
While most phone systems of the past were housed within onsite server rooms in the office, more and more businesses are moving to the cloud to take advantage of the advancements in technology.
While on-premise phone systems require internal IT proficiency to manage the system, as well as heavy investment in the hardware required to power the system, a cloud-based phone system offers a cost-effective and scalable solution that future-proofs your business.
Benefits of moving your phone system to the cloud
- Automated updates
- As-a-service offers predictable pricing
- Little to no initial setup cost
- Saves IT time and reduces the need for additional staff to maintain servers
- Highly scalable (i.e., you can upgrade your services instantly without purchasing new equipment)
- Better data security
- Uptime guarantees
- Layers of support (e.g., phone tech support, chat, email, etc.)
Don't Be Overwhelmed
Choosing the right phone system is all about what works best for your business. For some businesses, a simple IP desk phone setup is the perfect solution, offering a reliable and budget-friendly communications solution. For those with more complex needs, UCaaS is the way forward. It's fast, secure, reliable, and has all of the features your business needs to communicate and engage with today's customers.
Is your business ready to scale to cloud-based phone solution? Let’s talk.
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