Even the smallest and newest of businesses may need to consider a business phone system to ensure that all inbound and outbound calls are dealt with effectively and every sales opportunity maximised. In fact it’s even more important for a small business to ensure that every possible conversion is made in order to survive and indeed grow.
Features and Benefits of a Business Phone System for a Small Business
Integration with CRM Software
Combining a tech savvy telephone network with a CRM – Customer Relationship Management system can have big benefits for small companies.
A good CRM will ensure incoming and outgoing sales leads are managed and followed up, and excellent customer service thrives. Combining with a phone system makes dialling, logging calls and responding to orders, amongst other factors including the management of the sales process, much easier.
Ensuring Every Call is Answered Quickly
A good telephony system will allow management of extension numbers to quickly direct calls to the right person or department. It will enable calls to be diverted to mobile and either picked up or managed with caller display and voicemail.
This is absolutely essential for a smaller business where some or all employees could be out of the office, in meetings, or making sales in the field when the phone is still ringing at base.
Making the Most of Call Waiting
A basic telephony system will allow an automated call answering service where calls can be directed by the system, or queuing callers can either be entertained by on hold music, or introduced to products or services through a promotional recording.
They are More Cost Effective than you Think
With today’s technology there is no longer the need for large and costly cabinets of equipment. A desktop phone is compact and low cost, and much of the software and connectivity can be managed in the cloud. Training and support can be in the form of tutorials, email and chat support, negating the costs of site visits and lengthy setup calls.
Choosing the Best Type of Phone System for Your Small Business
All phone systems will have a base unit. Desktop phones, and headsets if required, can then connect into the base system and integrate with PC and networks and mobile phones via the net or the cloud.
When choosing equipment consider whether your business needs:
- Call diversion and extension number management
- Multi-office or out of office support
- Conference facilities
- Video calling
- Wireless or speaker options
- Automated answering and recorded information
- A complete digital receptionist
- To add units or expand later
- Training or maintenance
Types of Business Phone System
A KSU or Key System Unit is popular for small businesses as it’s a basic system with a limit to how many phones can be connected. It has the basic features a small business requires and will have a base unit. Wireless KSU systems are also available.
PBX or Private Bench Exchange systems are more advanced than KSU’s and automatically route calls. They have an uninterruptable power supply which can be of benefit where downtime due to power outages would have serious consequences. They work well for services and facilities companies for this reason. PBX systems are available as hosted systems or with a physical base unit.
VoIP or IP technology is the most advanced, transmitting calls over an IP network rather than the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) that KSU and PBX systems use. VoIP units can be software based phones and are more flexible, integrated and controllable. VoIP phone units are more advanced can display and transmit data digitally.
Cost of Phone Systems for Small Businesses
KSU system units can start from tens of dollars and full systems into the hundreds. VoIP systems are likely to start from the lower hundreds for a small business.
Costs to Consider:
- Base system
- Phone units
- Training and support
- Network and call charges
- Monthly maintenance and contracts
Best Phone System Providers for Small Businesses
Rogers Business Telephone Services
Rogers is the largest wireless telephone carrier in Canada and had over 10 million customers in 2016. They offer wireless, phone, TV, internet and home monitoring services to home customers.
For businesses they offer wireless, internet and phone networks plus additional services of security, cloud, data centres, Internet of Things, and further communications and IT solutions.
Rogers’ business provision covers connectivity, network design and build, cloud or virtual networks, fibre and cable services, security solutions and specialist business collaboration. They tailor options for small businesses.
Rogers are only rivalled in size by Bell in Canada. They perform well in customer reviews and handle complaints and customer service well. Their reputation is strong in their service provision and the extent and reliability of their infrastructure.
The cost of Roger’s services and equipment can run higher due to their excellent reputation. However if you are looking for a quality provider and reliability they are probably worth it.
Toshiba Telecommunications, Business Telephone Services
Toshiba have a well reputed presence in the Canadian telecoms market. The global brand’s telecommunication products are bespoke to the company so they provide solutions that work equally for small and large businesses.
Their systems are usually available through a telecom reseller who can offer advice, support and training on new systems. They focus on providing a unified business on an enterprise wide telephone system and cover anything from a few to a few thousand employees and phone units.
Toshiba technology is cutting edge and some of their key products are cloud systems, conferencing and call management systems like Find Me, Follow Me to manage call diversion to extensions and to mobile phones when the recipient is off site.
Software and Hardware is available through Toshiba dealers so it’s worth comparing all options but especially the level of support and maintenance. Reliability is a key benefit of the brand, alongside the level of technology.
Again Toshiba will not be the cheapest on the market but they offer both extensive functionality and a good reputation. Reviews of Toshiba are generally positive and tell of efficiency and improved communications.