You can try to run a successful business without a great business phone system, but we wouldn't recommend it. Management professionals everywhere agree that the telephone is still critical to effective customer service and client relations, so if you want to see your business develop and grow, you need this all-important tool in place. Fortunately, today's business telephone systems are every bit as flexible and responsive as today's entrepreneurial businessperson. You can select the features you need, opt out of the bells and whistles you don't want, and easily and affordably create a customized phone system that helps you and your colleagues keep in contact and close deals.
A Business Phone In The Clouds
There is a lot to like about the business phone services offered by Phone.com. In fact, they offer "dozens of included features" and "tons of phone options," and we'll talk about those in a minute. But first let's highlight the fact that their basic business phone service starts at just $9.99 per month. The company's standard features include things like call routing, easy conference calling, and personalized greetings, and as for phone options, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, you and your employees or colleagues can use almost any type of phone you'd like. That includes smartphones, flip phones, and landlines: Phone.com can connect to all of them via their cloud-based network. The service offers both pay-per-minute plans, great for the small business that needs multiple lines but that doesn't rely heavily on calls, and unlimited plans that allow for endless hours of calling at a pre-set price. Its cloud-based service minimizes the hardware needed in your offices or retail location.
Connecting Phones. Connecting Clients.
With RingCentral, you can easily connect your desk phones (AKA "landlines") with your mobile phones (AKA "lifelines"), so your employees are always easy to reach and your customers can always have access to a representative. Once the RingCentral Mobile App is installed on a mobile phone, the service ensures that all of the features it offers can be enjoyed both on a landline or on a mobile. That's thanks to the fact that all calls, texts, faxes, and video communications handled by RingCentral are routed through their cloud phone system. It's easy to activate and then customize your new business account: just use their excellent customer service team, or setup your system yourself by navigating an easy, intuitive series of check boxes, drop-down menus, and multiple choice questionnaires. Who knew you were such a tech-savvy management professional?
Toll-Free Numbers; Hassle Free Setup
Grasshopper is one of the most celebrated business phone service providers primarily because of their innovative approach that might fairly be summarized as "one size fits none." The brand offers almost endless adaptability when it comes to choosing the features your phone service will use. You can create customized menus (e.g. "Press 2 for Sales, Press 3 for Marketing"), assign employee extensions, opt to display your corporate number during outgoing calls placed from landlines or mobile devices, and of course you'll get all sorts of voicemail, conferencing, and call forwarding options, too. Perhaps best of all, though, is how easy the service makes it for you to choose the best number for your business. You can opt for a number with the classic 1-800 prefix or you can choose from a huge selection of available numbers with other prefixes, like 866 and 844. And you can always keep things local, too.
Business Phone Systems: In-Depth
Choosing The Best Business Phone System
As in philosophy, so too in the process of choosing a telephone service for your business, you must "know thyself." The chances are good that if you're considering which business phone service with which to partner, you already own or manage a business. (Most people don't first choose a telephone service and then decide to open a business, e.g.) And if that business you own or run has any chance of surviving, you likely already know a lot about it, including who your primary customers or clients are, the types of products you create or source, and the way your staff conducts the day-to-day operations that help get it all done. Or, in other words, you already know a lot about your business.
That's good, because when it comes to choosing a business telephone system, customization is the key to success. Today's leading business phone services offer more variety than the ice cream shop has flavors. While all of the leading business phone systems will come with basics like voicemail services, call forwarding, and conference calling features, it is in the unique offers and features of the various competing systems that you'll find a facet or two that will help you decide which service is the right one for you and your team.
Do You Even Need a Business Phone System?
Yes. Yes you do, at least according to experienced management professionals from all sorts of professional fields. From sales to finance to tech, there is no professional arena where the good old call is outdated. In fact, thanks to ever more effective VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology and offsite cloud phone systems, the "old school" telephone call is back at the forefront of professional technology. In fact, today's business phone system may look more like that smartphone in your pocket than a bunch of musty old landlines sitting on desks. The way in which phone calls connect clients and coworkers has changed; the fact that these people have to be properly connected has not.
And no matter how fast texts and emails zap from one device to another, and even when you can text or type at a blazing word per minute count, there is still no way to get faster answers and information than by actually talking to another person or group of people in real time.
That said, a good business phone service offers features that go way beyond fast, reliable calling.
What Do You Get With a Business Phone System?
To put it simply, when you choose the right business phone system, you get anything you want, within reason. That means features including but far from limited to the basics like:
- Call Transferring
- Call Waiting/Queues
- Conferencing Options
- Voicemail Service
- Call Recording
- Extension Dialing
All of those features, and many more like them, will look familiar to anyone who has worked in an office with a telephone exchange system over the past few decades. It's the more specialized, uniquely modern business phone service features that are actually exciting. These include options like:
- Automated Attendants
- Internet Faxing
- Voicemail to Email
- Landline to Mobile Forwards
- Ring Groups
- Text Features
Perhaps the best thing about a good business telephone system is its ability to work with and enhance almost any existing network of phones, and this is true even if said phones had no previous connection beyond what their users hoped to accomplish. That is to say that with a cloud-based business phone system, you can transform a group of disparate smartphones into a lean, mean, connected phone system thanks to some stellar apps. You can loop in a landline or ten just by plugging those phones into Internet-ready devices (like... a computer). Your business phone system can create a viable network of cell phones and landlines located far and wide, or of course it can simply integrate all the phones in an office, helping them work better and adding more features than you might have with your old system.
New Number vs. Old Number
When you set up your new business phone system, you can almost always choose to keep your existing phone number. That's a good thing for the small business that has finally outgrown its single landline but wants to ensure existing customers keep in touch and that any existing materials that list their number, like a website or flyer, for example, stay accurate. You can choose to add a number of you'd like, or of course you can change to a brand new number.
Changing numbers is a good idea for the company that is rebranding or for the individual who heretofore used their personal phone for work. Getting a new number also allows you to choose a great phone number for your business, whether that means one that's easy to remember thanks to its simplicity, or by choosing a "vanity number" that uses a word that will help drive customers and clients your way.
Whether you choose a new number, add lines, or stick with the digits you have, a great business phone system is simply critical for running a great business. After all, people still love to talk shop.
And here's one more thing to consider: the sad fact is that not having a reliable phone system will make your business look unprofessional, potentially costing you sales and deals that have nothing else to do with the actual quality of the products or services you offer.