An office manager’s guide to 21st Century Phone Systems for the Small Business
You may be forgiven in thinking that a business phone system needs to be expensive and requires weeks of setting up but those days are gone, the Internet has revolutionised how businesses run their phone systems.
You wouldn’t contemplate buying and setting up systems or servers in your house or office to run your mobile phone so why do people still do it for their business phone systems? The reason is that many phone companies still rely on the upfront asset sale. Their salesmen earn big commissions from selling what is known in the trade as “tin”.
These “PBX” systems would traditionally have been attached to the wall of the office or positioned in a cupboard somewhere. The phone company would arrive and install the system configuring it to suit your business.
In most cases these systems were then connected to “lines” depending on how many extensions you had and how many simultaneous calls you want to deal with. A typical phone system would have a life of between 5 and 7 years but it was up to the customer to either pay an annual maintenance contract or manage it themselves.
This model worked extremely well for the phone companies, they earned big commissions from the upfront sale, then received the annual maintenance fee and to cap it all the customer needed to commit to expensive phone lines to deal with the calls.
This has all changed with the advent of Voice over the Internet (or VoIP). It is no longer necessary to install expensive hardware in your office or workplace, you can simply connect your new VoIP handset to the internet and the system just works, there is no complicated setup, no capex, no phone lines, all you pay is a small monthly fee to use the service.
A great example of how simple it is to setup is one of our clients, the Managing Director lives in the South of France but his company’s main business office is in London. We provided handsets to the London office and configured them with all the standard business features you would expect, but delivered one of the handsets to the South of France, he simply connected it to his home router and within less than 30 seconds the system was operational and he could make low cost calls whenever he wanted using the new service. The MD can also take calls as if he was sitting in London and all calls between his French office and London are free of charge.
Another example is a Medical practice who was struggling to deal with high volumes of calls at peak times, customers complained that they were often receiving an engaged sound, this was because they had just 4 lines going into the phone system, as soon as a fifth caller was on the line they heard the engaged sound. By installing our cloud voice service that limitation was removed, when all extensions are busy, clients simply hear a recorded message asking them to leave their number and the practice returns the call.
Security is becoming more of an issue with modern phone systems, people don’t realise that actually a modern phone system is simply a computer server. As with all computers connected to the outside world security is a real threat. Criminals have realised that many phone systems are not regularly updated and upgraded and they target them to create fraud. The numbers are absolutely startling with literally millions of pounds being defrauded from small companies in the UK every year. Many cloud based phone companies take the responsibility to protect clients with engineers on call managing and watching over the system 24/7.
The features available are also really impressive. It’s a competitive market so new features and services are added monthly. In its simplest form you can order just standard business phone services such as voicemail or hunt groups, but the 21st Century Business Phone system can offer so much more including complex automated assistants, video, call reporting, conference calls and the ability to make calls from your computer or mobile allowing remote workers to take office calls wherever in the world they are based.
To find out more about 21st Century Telephony here are a few guides:
Or if you want to simply chat about your business phone requirements please don’t hesitate to send me a message I am always happy to help.