Choosing a Business Phone System | Which One Is Right for Your Organization?

Choosing a Business Phone System | Which One Is Right for Your Organization?

As a business owner, you know the importance of a reliable phone system for your business. Dropped calls, fuzzy call quality, and unreliable service can result in the loss of sales and diminish customer trust. Choosing the right business phone for your organization is vital, but which one is right? What should you look for in a service provider? 

Not all business phone systems are made equally, and providers offer an array of services that might confuse you. Fortunately, we aim to answer those questions below and remove some of the confusion to help you make the best decision for your team. 

Why Upgrade Your Business Phone System?

In an unpredictable economy, the primary benefit of upgrading your business phone system is the cost savings in the short-and-long-term. However, if you’re also faced with the prospect of losing high-quality employees to other organizations that offer remote and hybrid work, you must consider making the switch today. There are a whole host of benefits when switching to VoIP, which we’ll explain below. 

We’re all looking for ways to reduce costs. One of the most significant benefits of switching to a cloud-based VoIP phone is cost savings, which help you fight the rising inflation, and save you from unnecessary added expenses. An upgraded business phone will increase productivity among current team members, also translating into cost savings, as well as saving your employees time from navigating through outdated systems to get their job done more efficiently. 

Below, we’ll delve into the types of business phone systems that’ll help your business.

Types of Business Phone Systems

According to statistics from Grand View Research, an estimated 61 percent of businesses are still operating on antiquated, premise-based phone systems, highlighting the need for modern business communication systems. However, transitions to new systems are occurring at historic rates as more employees demand flexibility from employers. While many believed this trend would fade with time, it shows no signs of slowing down. 

The technology continues to become more widespread among small-to-medium-sized businesses across the United States and abroad due to the affordable and feature-rich systems offered by telecommunications service providers. 

There are three types of business phone systems. These include:

Landlines

Landlines:

  • Cables are made of copper wires to transmit sound
  • You can only make and receive calls if you’re on-site
  • Installation and other add-ons can be expensive, time-consuming, physically demanding, and the customer is responsible for potentially costly upgrades
  • Outdated technology, which is slowly disappearing and being replaced

VoIP

VoIP offers the following:

  • Data and sound are transmitted through an internet connection
  • Typically involves a monthly rate with various features included
  • Cloud-based, meaning the service is hosted in an off-site data center and delivered over the internet 
  • Calls can be made via a computer softphone and are managed through an online portal
  • Specific features include auto-attendant, conference calls, call routing, SMS, call recording, call logging, and email

With a VoIP business phone system, you get more than calling – you also benefit from collaboration, call forwarding, call routing, call transfers, conference calls, SMS, call recording, email, and call handling features, making VoIP significantly sought after. 

UCaaS

UCaaS offers the following:

  • VoIP phone service that includes call recording, voicemail, call routing, and call forwarding
  • Messaging that includes SMS, text, and real-time chat for individuals and groups
  • Video for one-to-one meetings or multi-participant video conferencing
  • Collaboration tools that include file sharing, team messaging, scheduling, and project management
  • Software integrations for additional functionality and increased productivity
  • Easy user management and system administration through a web-based portal   

Key Differences between Landlines, VoIP, and UCaaS

There are some key differences between the three worth noting. When it comes to landlines and VoIP, the most obvious is that VoIP uses the internet to make calls. In contrast, landlines use copper wiring, meaning VoIP calls can be made anywhere you have an internet connection, whereas landlines are restricted to specific geographical areas. 

UCaaS and VoIP share many similarities since both use the internet instead of analog phone lines. However, UCaaS is a far more powerful communication tool. With UCaaS, you have all your business communication tools in one place, including phone, video, messaging, and team collaboration features. UCaaS also integrates with business software such as CRM and marketing applications, which streamlines business operations. Everything is available in a single platform and enables you to access all of your connected devices from anywhere at any time. 

Considerations When Choosing a Business Phone

We understand that committing to change and investing precious budget dollars in new technology can be challenging, but upgrading your phone system to a new, state-of-the-art communication solution will be one of the best decisions you make for your business. Before making that commitment, you must define your needs, determine what technology fits those needs, and find the right providers to fill those needs. 

The first step is to answer the following questions:

  • What does your business need from its communications solution? 
  • How is your current phone system not meeting those needs? 
  • Is your team on-site, remote, or hybrid?
  • Are there gaps or delays in communications that cause problems?
  • What business processes could be made more efficient with better communications? 
  • What new communications tools will make your team more productive? 
  • What new features and functionality can help you better serve your customers? 
  • What is your budget? 

At the end of 2023, two-thirds of workers will be remote. By 2024, 75 percent of enterprise users will not use a desk phone, demonstrating the need for a modern business communications  system that can accommodate remote workers. By switching to a VoIP-based business phone or UCaaS solution, you’re enabling your business and teams to become more connected. Investing in this technology today will pay off in the short-and-long-term. 

By choosing the right business phone, your business can save a significant amount of money. After you have answered these questions, here are the things you need to consider when  choosing a new business phone system and service provider:

Technology

Easy to Use

The last thing you want to do is purchase a business phone system that’s challenging for your team to use. You want to increase productivity and save time – not add extra steps. Fortunately, cloud-based phone systems are known for their ease of use. In most cases, you can set the system up yourself, and have it up and running immediately. VoIP phones are easy to use , and employees can use their own mobile devices with the system app that includes the same features.   

Easy to Manage

Another consideration before adopting a new cloud-based phone system is ease of administration, with the ability to easily add, delete, and manage users, run reports, and manage the system as a whole. You want a web-based/internet portal that’s simple, intuitive and easy to navigate and operate. Again, you’re looking to streamline workflows and increase productivity on all fronts — find a system that’s simple to manage.

Call Quality

Hello, are you there? Can you hear me? You cut out – can you repeat that? Can you think of anything more frustrating than trying to explain the benefits of your business, only for your customers to get frustrated by the poor call quality? It’s a serious concern and the quickest route to losing a potential customer. Although VoIP was once notorious for poor call quality when it first debuted, the technology has drastically improved. VoIP now has a reputation for crisp, clear call quality that doesn’t lag or drop out when you have a solid internet connection. This will help your entire organization immensely, whether it’s your remote workers calling in for an internal meeting, or your sales team talking about your product or service when closing an important deal.

Scalability

With on-premise phone systems, scalability is fraught with challenges. Impossible? No. Complex? Yes. For example, if you need to add ten users, but the plan requires you to purchase 15 lines at a time, you’ll be paying for more than you need. With a cloud-based solution, you can scale the system to your current need and never pay for users you don’t need. Adding new users is simple – it’s a process that can be handled through a web-based portal with a few clicks. Scalability is vital when considering a business phone system. 

Mobility

Implementing a cloud-based business phone system means flexibility and mobility for your team. Most teams are no longer tied to a single physical location. According to data from the Future Forum by Slack, less than 30 percent of global knowledge workers are working from the office every day. Of those surveyed, 68 percent prefer a hybrid work style, while 78 percent want flexibility where they work. As your team becomes more mobile, the tools for your business must also evolve. If you’re looking to attract top talent from across the globe with only an internet connection, adopting a new business phone system is right for your business. 

Business Needs

Users

We must move on from the remote versus office debate because the future of work includes a combination of both. As was mentioned above, two-thirds of workers will be remote, and the number of hybrid workers has increased substantially to 58 percent. Flexibility is the expectation and will soon become the norm for knowledge workers across the United States and abroad. For that reason alone, adopting a new business phone system will enable you to provide the flexibility the modern workforce expects, while not forgetting your on-site employees. 

Locations 

Another critical consideration is whether your business is located in a single location or several. How many locations are they operating? Are they all in the same cities or scattered across the United States? How many states? Are all locations uniform and have similar needs, or are the functions completely different? Do the locations have special considerations, such as the need for significant attendee webinar-style meetings at a corporate headquarters, or does one city have remote field representatives? How many users are at each location? How many are working remotely, hybrid, or on-site? Are there any special needs? These are all influential factors that determine the type of business phone system your business must adopt. 

Processes

The reality is that you can’t provide the modern workforce with the flexibility they need if your business uses outdated technology like traditional landlines, which keeps everyone stuck in a single location. By upgrading your phone system, your business will receive immediate benefits, including improved productivity, increased efficiency, streamlined workflows, and satisfied employees. 

Budget

As costs continue to rise, staying within budget is more critical than ever. However, your communication needs still need to be met. Traditional landline costs are soaring, and purchasing new equipment can put your business over budget in a hurry. If they break, Forget it. Therefore, proceeding with a cloud-based business phone system offered by a service provider is the ideal choice. You won’t endure up-front costs, maintenance fees are handled by the service provider, and you can easily add users yourself. You won’t have to worry about hardware failures, maintenance issues, or the associated costs or inconvenience, saving the business from overspending and remaining on target for quarterly/yearly spending. In addition, streamlining workflows improves worker productivity, meaning they can get more done, save your business money, and remain within or under budget.

Provider

Features

The provider must also offer advanced features that help your business flourish, including:

  • Voice
  • Call transfers
  • Call forwarding
  • Conference calls
  • Auto-attendant
  • Advanced call management
  • Remote and hybrid work options
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Call recording
  • Simple access to call logs
  • Team collaboration
  • Centralized workflows
  • Video
  • Messaging
  • Document sharing
  • Call center features
  • Software integrations

Reliability

Cloud-based phone systems can be incredibly reliable when you choose the right service provider. When researching your new communications solution look for a provider whose service is hosted in multiple data centers. Multiple data centers provide levels of redundancy –  if one data center goes offline, there’s a backup data center that takes over delivery of the service. This prevents your business from experiencing disruptions in its communications. Your new provider should also guarantee a minimum of “3 nines” availability, or 99.9% uptime. 

Security

One concern businesses have about adopting a cloud-based business phone system is security. With the rise of fraud, malware, and phishing attempts, this is a valid concern. The service provider you decide to move forward with must offer authentication, encryption, secure architecture, and a host of other security features  to ensure your information is safe. 

Cost

Look for a provider that offers the solution you need at a reasonable price. With a cloud-based phone system, the provider owns the platform, and is responsible for its maintenance and updates, which saves you the cost and trouble of buying and maintaining on-site equipment. Since you’ll be subscribing to the solution (as a service), you’ll need to know what the provider’s pricing structure is – is it annual? Or is it monthly recurring? What are the pricing/subscription tiers? How are renewals handled? And ultimately, does the provider’s solution fit within the budget?

Onboarding and Support

Your provider should have a clear onboarding process to get your new communications solution up and running. They should offer installation services, and have training available to teach you how to use the system and its features. If you decide to install your new system yourself, it’ll be a straightforward process, but if you run into an issue, your provider should have a support team ready to assist you. That support team should also be available on an ongoing basis should you need help with your system along the way. So look for a provider who takes a hands-on approach to assure customer needs and expectations are fully met. 

Customer Reviews

One of the best indicators of a good provider are positive customer reviews. If users are  satisfied enough with their new business phone system that they’re willing to leave a good  review, that speaks volumes about the provider’s service. Conversely, a provider with multiple  negative customer reviews could be a red flag and indicate a provider you should avoid. 

So, do your research — check review sites to see what businesses are saying about the provider you’re considering. Has the provider been easy to do business with? Did the implementation go smoothly? Are they happy with the system and its features? Is it easy to use and manage, or are they having any issues? Is the service reliable or has there been any downtime or outages? Are they happy with the customer service and support? These are very important things to know before you sign  on the dotted line. 

Recommendations and Referrals

Another simple way to find a good provider is to ask friends and business associates who already have a cloud phone system who they would recommend. If they’re happy with their system and they’ve had a good experience with the provider, they’ll gladly tell you. And if the opposite is true, they’ll let you know that too. Ask specifically about all the things we’ve been talking about — the system and its features, the service and its call quality and reliability, the provider and their service and support. If the person you ask is satisfied with all of these, they’ll be more than happy to refer you to their provider.

Next Steps In Your Business Phone System Search

As a business owner, if you’re ready to take the next step, there are a few options to consider. 

  1. Assess your current phone system/setup to see where it comes up short and how a new business phone system can plug the holes.
  2. Assess your current and future needs using the considerations above to ensure a new business phone system will resolve the current issues your team is facing and any others you might anticipate down the road. 
  3. Determine your budget – before making a decision, you must know what you’re willing to spend, the pricing structure you’re comfortable with, and the other variables we discussed above. 
  4. Search for a provider by reading reviews and seeking recommendations from others – positive reviews are a good indicator the service provider is offering excellent service, whereas negative reviews can serve as a red flag. 
  5. Find a provider that offers a system demo to see to ensure it’s the right fit for your business before making a commitment. 

Lastly, a good service provider can walk you through the items above to help you get to the right solution for your business.

Conclusion: It’s Time for a Cloud-Based Business Phone System 

Remote and Hybrid Work are the Future of Business 

According to Gartner, if an organization returns entirely to an on-site arrangement, it risks losing up to 39 percent of its workforce. As a business owner, you must adopt a modern communications platform and business phone system that supports the hybrid and remote workforce and enables the team to work from anywhere at any time. 

VoIP and UCaaS are the Future of Business Communications

Modern communications technology gives your team the tools they need to be more productive, VoIP and UCaaS optimize your communications to make your business operations more efficient, which saves you money in the process. 

Crexendo® Is the Future of VoIP and UCaaS

Crexendo® has the solution today that will allow your business to accommodate the remote and hybrid workers of tomorrow  — it’s called the Crexendo® VIP™ Platform for Cloud Business Communications. It’s the fastest-growing UCaaS platform in America with over two-and-a-half million end-users globally. The rapid adoption of our VIP Platform is a testament to our commitment to creating the best UCaaS platform available. Crexendo® always has its eyes on the horizon of business communications technology, and we’re constantly striving to provide superior solutions each and every day.

How Can Crexendo® and our VIP Platform Help Your Business?

Crexendo® VIP™ is more than a phone system, it’s a complete business communications solution. It includes phone, video, messaging, team collaboration and over 300 software integrations, all in one easy-to-use platform that’s backed by our industry-leading 100% Uptime Guarantee. And to top it off you can get all this for up to 55 percent less than a traditional premise-based system.

But what makes Crexendo® truly unique is that we love our customers! 

We will always go the extra mile to ensure you’re pleased with the move to a cloud-based business phone system. Our award-winning U.S.-based customer service and support team consists of highly experienced cloud consultants who are always available to help if you need it. They’ll walk you through every last detail, answer all of your questions, and make sure you’re 100% satisfied with your new cloud communications solution.

But don’t take our word for it – our customers rave about us on G2.com, giving us a 4.9 out of 5 star rating. So isn’t it time to start taking advantage of everything Crexendo®’s award-winning VIP™ Platform has to offer? 

Let us show you how – schedule your free demo today!